Questions on writing non-trivial programs in Mathematica. Do not use this tag for questions on plotting/graphics or for questions on doing mathematics with Mathematica, where the focus is more on the math than the program.

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15
votes
3answers
1k views

Effective matrix power like algorithm

First example Suppose you want to calculate the 6th power of some matrix $A$. The brute force attempt of doing this is considering $$(((AA)A)A)A)A$$ which requires a total of 5 matrix ...
15
votes
2answers
455 views

Efficient priority queues?

I'm trying to figure out how to transfer the concept of a priority queue to the functional world. Searches have turned up some implementations that use Append and other expense list copying ...
15
votes
1answer
392 views

Importing Zip files

Mathematica can import zipped files automatically, but when the content of the zip file it's another zipped file, I just get the list of files in the second zip: ...
15
votes
1answer
281 views

Why does this line increase the consumed memory?

Probably this is a simple question, however I really don't understand this behavior in Mathematica. It particularly leads to a memory leak in a huge program I have to do processing of 3D images. I ...
15
votes
2answers
629 views

Lexicographic ordering of strings in Mathematica

I recently realized that Mathematica seems incapable of comparing strings in the "normal" expected lexicographic order. Indeed, for some simulations, I need to process text directly, without fiddling ...
15
votes
2answers
395 views

Distributing PlusMinus consistently

I would like to give the built-in function PlusMinus, which is undefined by default, the intuitive meaning: considering all possible combinations of $+$ and $-$. ...
14
votes
2answers
964 views

Is Mathematica a Turing-complete language?

Is Mathematica a Turing-complete language? If so, how can that be proved? If not, why?
14
votes
4answers
619 views

Implementing a function which generalizes the merging step in merge sort

One of the key steps in merge sort is the merging step. Given two sorted lists sorted1={2,6,10,13,16,17,19}; sorted2={1,3,4,5,7,8,9,11,12,14,15,18,20}; of ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Is learning to use Mathematica useful for pure theoretical research in Mathematics and Computer Science?

I am looking for opinions from Mathematica users about Mathematica itself. After reading the faq, I thought that in some sense I "wish to solve a problem using Mathematica" ... although I understand ...
14
votes
3answers
701 views

Mathematica usage (success stories) for financial back-ends

I've been working for about 5 years in Java, developing financial back-offices (web-services, business logic, report generation etc.). I think Mathematica is very suitable for such calculations and ...
14
votes
3answers
640 views

1D Random Walk variant

I am making a notebook that is a variation to the traditional 1d random walk problem. The normal 1D random walk can be simulated easily by ...
14
votes
3answers
556 views

How can I improve my code for drawing a tree?

This code draws a tree, but it's not in the functional style. ...
14
votes
3answers
465 views

Comparing Mathematica expressions like diff

I am looking for a way to compare (or "diff") two Mathematica expressions, similarly to how to diff utility can compare two text files and report the differences. Has anyone already written such a ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Fastest way to measure Hamming distance of integers

I am looking for a fast and robust way to calculate the Hamming distance of integers. The Hamming distance of two integers is the number of matching bits in their binary representations. I expect that ...
14
votes
3answers
799 views

Reading from STDIN, or: how to pipe data into Mathematica

Today I tried using Mathematica's plotting capabilities to display the output of a C++ program. This made me wonder whether it is possible to somehow tell a Mathematica script to read from STDIN and ...
14
votes
3answers
169 views

What does `: Hold[$IterationLimit]` mean?

In this answer, what does the : Hold[$IterationLimit] part of the following construct do? ...
14
votes
1answer
309 views

Is the sharing of variables in Module/Block within Compile documented behavior?

Today I noticed something, I think for the first time. When used inside Compile variable values within Module (and ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Poisson solver using Mathematica

I am looking for some help with a Poisson solver I am writing in Mathematica. The code is quite long with Arrays plugged in, so the full details can be found at http://pastebin.com/uSrSDcW6 I am ...
14
votes
1answer
240 views

How to make a function like Set, but with a Block construct for the pattern names

How can we define a function that works like f[x_]=ComputeSomething[x] and treats x as a variable that does not have a value? ...
14
votes
1answer
300 views

Count number of sublists with a total not greater than a given max

Suppose I have a list of positive integers: data={1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 5, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 12, 16, 23} I want to count the number of subsets up to ...
14
votes
0answers
291 views

What Mathematica features and idioms have n^2 complexity or worse

Here are a few: AppendTo[data, elem], Sort[data, test], in some cases use of ___ (as ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Finding all elements within a certain range in a sorted list

Suppose we have a sorted list of values. Let's use list = Sort@RandomReal[1, 1000000]; for this example. I need a fast function ...
13
votes
5answers
675 views

How to correct my code for solving the Josephus problem?

Problem Decription Recently, I have been reading the book Schaum's Outline of Mathematica (2nd Edition), where I encounted the problem: Flavius Josephus was a Jewish historian of the first ...
13
votes
6answers
949 views

Splitting up delimited data in lists

One task that I frequently find myself doing in Mathematica is splitting lists into lists of sublists, using specific elements to define the break-points. This is particularly useful with imported ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a Mathematica/Lisp link?

I'd like to start learning Lisp as it sometimes leads to interesting answers on this site with concepts borrowed from this language, so I'm curious. As I already spend most of my programming time in ...
13
votes
3answers
295 views

How to keep some of the results of the NestList

I'm using some iterative arithmetics to calculate wave propagation with the help of NestList. I have to use a small step size for iteration to guarantee the accuracy, which lead to too much data (e.g, ...
13
votes
2answers
481 views

Need help coding/creating a recursive list

I have two lists A and B, each with 99 real numbers. I want to form a list, C, whose ...
13
votes
2answers
292 views

How to make use of NumericQ[x] = True (and use it safely)?

Basic Issue: I'm trying to understand the proper use of NumericQ's "magical" capabilities. Please consider the examples below. Actual question and some links are ...
13
votes
2answers
867 views

Suppressing negative roots in Mathematica

Problem Using Mathematica's Solve operator can sometimes lead to an output involving a positive and negative root (say when solving for a variable such as ...
13
votes
1answer
374 views

Is it possible to use Begin and End inside a Manipulate?

May be someone can explain why I can't use Begin["context`"] and End[] inside a Manipulate ...
13
votes
2answers
621 views

Question about designing a particular data structure

Background: I store polygons with a color assigned at the face level. In some occasions I want to use vertex colors but I want to store data efficiently, i.e. don't want to duplicate data to the ...
13
votes
1answer
465 views

rule-based implementation of an algorithm

When I first started learning about rule-based programming with Mathematica, I tried to translate this algorithm for computing the convex hull of a set of 2-D points in $O(n \log(n))$ time, to use ...
13
votes
1answer
306 views

Evaluation indicator for a notebook

I have a GUI with a number of TabView and other Manipulate controls. Sometimes clicking from one tab view to the other can take ...
13
votes
2answers
423 views

Most influential and/or disrupting features introduced with new versions of Mathematica

This is something that has been bugging me for ages. With every upgrade, Mathematica has added new functionalities and amendend some of its bugs. In the process, though, some older functionality has ...
12
votes
9answers
447 views

Generating a matrix using sublists A and B n times

I want to write a function that generates a square matrix from sublists. My sublists are a = Range[0, x, 0.5]; b = Range[0.25, x + 0.25, 0.5]; Suppose x=2, then I ...
12
votes
10answers
617 views

How can I generate a nested array like this one?

Well, this is how the array looks like: I came up with this code: n = 10; Nest[ArrayPad[#, 1, 1 - #[[1, 1]]] &, {{1}}, n] /. {1 -> "*"} Any better ...
12
votes
5answers
555 views

Mathematica quine

A quine is a computer program which takes no input and produces a copy of its own source code as its only output. There are many trivial quines in Mathematica: ...
12
votes
2answers
724 views

Mathematica Application in Real Life

As an 'user'-level in Mathematica, I mainly use built-in Mathematica function and benefit Mathematica as a mathematical tool-box for my specific scientific problem. My level is not yet ...
12
votes
5answers
702 views

How to improve this code for solving the “Mr.S and Mr.P” puzzle?

Mr.S and Mr. P puzzle — "Formalization of two Puzzles Involving Knowledge", McCarthy, John (1987) We pick two numbers $a$ and $b$, such that $a\geq b$ and both numbers are within the range ...
12
votes
3answers
432 views

Custom functions by delegating options in a specific way and using core functions

I'd like to create a custom function that does essentially the same as a core function of mathematica but uses different default settings. Example: I want a Plot function that uses Mathematica's core ...
12
votes
4answers
495 views

Can you recommend an efficient method for finding the least integer satisfying my inequality?

I tried find the minimum make $\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{2+\sqrt{2}}+\frac{1}{3 +\sqrt{3}}+...+\frac{1}{n+\sqrt{n}}>15$ Following code is so slow when I use condition ...
12
votes
3answers
695 views

How can I type-check the arguments of a Mathematica function?

(For educational purposes) I defined the following functions: Translation (in $\mathbb{R}^2$): trM[vec_] := {{1, 0, vec[[1]]}, {0, 1, vec[[2]]}, {0, 0, 1}} ...
12
votes
1answer
601 views

How to monitor the progress of Map?

I have a function doSomethingComplicated[...] that takes about 10s on average to evaluate. My list, listOfArgs has about 10000 ...
12
votes
3answers
294 views

Notebook vs. DocumentNotebook; display a Notebook inline, like a DocumentNotebook

If you evaluate a DocumentNotebook[] expression in the front-end, it nicely displays inline, inside of an output cell in the current notebook: For my purposes, ...
12
votes
1answer
283 views

Modules that initialize themselves on first call

I use a lot of functions that extract a specific data item from a file with many data items. I want these functions to load data (slow) and return the item (fast) on first call, but just return the ...
12
votes
2answers
341 views

Listing subgraphs of G isomorphic to SubG

If I have an undirected graph G, how could I write a function in Mathematica to obtain a list of subgraphs of G that are isomorphic to some other undirected graph SubG? I'd like to learn how to ...
12
votes
3answers
965 views

Big-Oh Notation

Is there a way to have Mathematica understand Big-Oh notation? For example, I want something like: MinBigOh[...] where ...
11
votes
8answers
460 views

Any built-in function to generate successive sublists from a list?

Given lst = {a, b, c, d} I'd like to generate {{a}, {a, b}, {a, b, c}, {a, b, c, d}} but using built-in functions only, ...
11
votes
3answers
395 views

Does AbsoluteTiming slow the evaluation time?

I've started using AbsoluteTiming to discriminate between similar function constructs, but I sometimes feel like it takes substantially more time to evaluate a ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What is Mathematica's equivalent to MATLAB's filter function?

The MATLAB code filter(0.5,[1, -0.5], [1:10]) is equivalent to Rest@FoldList[(#1 + #2)/2. &, 0, Range[10]] I don't ...