434
votes
6answers
155k views

xkcd-style graphs

I received an email to which I wanted to respond with a xkcd-style graph, but I couldn't manage it. Everything I drew looked perfect, and I don't have enough command over ...
306
votes
12answers
56k views

Where can I find examples of good Mathematica programming practice?

I consider myself a pretty good Mathematica programmer, but I'm always looking out for ways to either improve my way of doing things in Mathematica, or to see if there's something nifty that I haven't ...
165
votes
19answers
16k views

What are the most common pitfalls awaiting new users?

As you may already know, Mathematica is a wonderful piece of software. However, it has a few characteristics that tend to confuse new (and sometimes not-so-new) users. That can be clearly seen from ...
159
votes
2answers
37k views

Help find a bright object on Mars!

In today's news, scientists found a bright object on one of Curiosity's photos (it's near the bottom of the picture below). It's a bit tricky to find - I actually spent quite some time staring at the ...
140
votes
2answers
56k views

QR Code in shopping cart handle

This week, the market people from my work wanted to put QR codes in shopping cart handles, but when they tested it, the QR code did not work. I noted that the cylindrical curvature (even small) ...
117
votes
1answer
22k views

Mathematica Minecraft

Some time ago I asked myself: with all these great graphics and interactive capabilities of Mathematica, what kinds of 3D games can be implemented in it? And the answer which came to mind is ...
111
votes
5answers
7k views

Are you interested in purchasing David Wagner's “Power programming with Mathematica”?

I recently contacted McGraw-Hill to see if they have a mechanism in place for printing out-of-print books that are still of interest. Specifically, I asked about "Power programming with Mathematica" ...
111
votes
2answers
4k views

Implementing efficient multiple undo

At the time this question was asked, version 10 was not out yet. The Front End of Mathematica 10 does have multiple undo, see the answer by John Fultz. The Mathematica Front End's built-in Undo ...
97
votes
3answers
12k views

How to create word clouds?

Word clouds are rather useless fancy and visually appealing plots, where words are plotted with different sizes according to their frequency in a corpus. Many applications exist out there (Wordle, ...
95
votes
7answers
4k views

What are the use cases for different scoping constructs?

Mathematica includes three functions that I know of which can be used to effectively (if not actually) define a variable and give it a value within a local scope: ...
95
votes
3answers
4k views

Performance tuning in Mathematica?

What performance tuning tricks do you use to make a Mathematica application faster? MATLAB has an amazing profiler, but from what I can tell, Mathematica has no similar functionality.
92
votes
7answers
15k views

How to generate a random snowflake

'Tis the season... And it's about time I posed my first question on Mathematica Stack Exchange. So, here's an holiday quest for you Graphics (and P-Chem?) gurus. What is your best code for generating ...
92
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the distinction between DownValues, UpValues, SubValues, and OwnValues?

When reading through the documentation, you often encounter the phrases DownValues, UpValues, ...
92
votes
3answers
12k views

Alternatives to procedural loops and iterating over lists in Mathematica

While there are some cases where a For loop might be reasonable, it's a general mantra – one I subscribe to myself – that "if you are using a ...
89
votes
5answers
3k views

How can one find undocumented options or option values in Mathematica?

Mathematica has a lot of undocumented or poorly documented options. How does one go about working out if there is an undocumented option that might solve a particular problem? How does one work out ...
85
votes
5answers
7k views

How to compile effectively?

What are the best practices of compiling functions? I understand that this is a vague question, but let me list some aspects that might trigger useful answers. Some of these have already been answered ...
83
votes
4answers
7k views

Resources for beautiful Mathematica Stylesheets

When the Wolfram Demonstrations were introduced and the Documentation-Center was redesigned, I remember it was the first time I thought someone had put some effort into creating a beautiful ...
79
votes
1answer
3k views

File-backed lists/variables for handling large data

Background Currently I am working with some large data (most of it generated by Mathematica itself). I usually find it a hassle to do this. For example, I just exported a large amount of data to ...
77
votes
7answers
7k views

Struct equivalent in Mathematica?

I really miss having something like a struct in Mathematica. I know of (and regularly use) a couple of programming techniques which feel like a ...
77
votes
1answer
2k views

Programmatic formatting for Mathematica code - possible?

It seems to be both an interesting programming challenge and a very useful practical application to have a Mathematica program which would allow one to pretty-print Mathematica code, so that it is ...
76
votes
7answers
4k views

Can one identify the design patterns of Mathematica?

... or are they unnecessary in such a high-level language? I've been thinking about programming style, coding standards and the like quite a bit lately, the result of my current work on a mixed ...
74
votes
4answers
14k views

1 Plot, 2 Scale/Axis

I would like to plot those two datasets on top of each other. But they have very different range on the $y$ axis. How can I have two different axis? I found the following on the help menu but quite ...
73
votes
8answers
6k views

List of compilable functions

Is there somewhere a list on the functions that Compile can compile, or the cases in which a particular function can be compiled that I haven't found? I'd be glad ...
73
votes
2answers
5k views

How to manipulate 2D plots?

When it comes to visual analysis, large datasets or data with intricate internal details often makes plotting in 2D useless, as the outcome is either just a fraction of the full dataset, or no details ...
71
votes
7answers
3k views

What are some useful, undocumented Mathematica functions?

There have already been some questions about some undocumented functionality in Mathematica. Such as (please add to these lists!) How can one find undocumented options or option values in ...
69
votes
4answers
5k views

How to peel the labels from marmalade jars using Mathematica?

How can I detect and peel the label from the jar below (POV, cylinder radius, jar contents are all unknown) to get something like this, which is the original label before it was stuck on the jar? ...
66
votes
2answers
768 views

Why are numeric division and subtraction not handled better in Mathematica?

There is something that has been troubling me for a while. At least in version 7, the performance of a / b and a - b is not ...
64
votes
11answers
5k views

Artistic image vectorization

The question is how can we use Mathematica to create vectorized versions of low-resolution images? The goal is to get an image suitable for quality printing at any resolution. Since "true" ...
64
votes
6answers
6k views

Generating visually pleasing circle packs

EDIT: (my conclusion and thank you note) I want to thank you all guys for this unexpected intellectual and artistic journey. Hope you had fun and enjoyed it the same as I did. I would like to ...
63
votes
4answers
3k views

Functions with Options

Suppose you want to create a function which has optional arguments. Maeder's book "Programming in Mathematica" covers the topic extensively up to version 3, but some things have changed/evolved since ...
62
votes
8answers
12k views

How to make an inkblot?

How to effectively create a polygon that looks like a realistic inkblot? So far, I could come up with this (borrowing from Ed Pegg Jr.'s Rorschach demonstration): ...
61
votes
6answers
10k views

Exporting graphics to PDF - huge file

I want to draw some basic surfaces, export them to PDF and include them in a LaTeX file. I create a simple 3D graphics object, for instance with ...
61
votes
7answers
14k views

Elegant operations on matrix rows and columns

Question The Mathematica tutorial has a section 'Basic Matrix Operations', describing operations like transpose, inverse and determinant. These operations all work on entire matrices. I am missing a ...
59
votes
3answers
1k views

Automatically generating a dependency graph of an arbitrary Mathematica function?

Has anyone written a function to pull the function dependencies of a function? That is, it would be nice to have a function that returns a list of function dependencies as a set of rules, terminating ...
59
votes
5answers
9k views

$\LaTeX$ and Mathematica

I quite often would like to draw graphics in my $\LaTeX$ documents using Mathematica. I have encountered three problems. I would like to know if there are any workarounds to these problems I would ...
58
votes
2answers
4k views

Shaving the last 50 ms off NMinimize

The epilogue: A paper where the below answer is used was published. The answer below is cited among the references:) The background: I have to fit an objective function for ~10 000 datasets in near ...
58
votes
5answers
4k views

Minimal effort method for integrating C++ functions into Mathematica

As of Mathematica 8, what is the minimal effort way to integrate an existing C++ function into Mathematica? I think we have these: MathLink (it was quite long ago I used it last time) communication ...
57
votes
5answers
31k views

Get a “step by step” evaluation in Mathematica

Is it possible in Mathematica to get a step-by-step evaluation of some functions; that's to say, outputting not only the result but all the stages that have led to it? Example : Let's say I want to ...
56
votes
2answers
2k views

Flatten command: matrix as second argument

One thing I could never wrap my head around is how Flatten works when provided with a matrix as the second argument, and the Mathematica help isn't particularly ...
55
votes
7answers
2k views

Functional style using lazy lists?

Let's say I want to answer the question "what are the first 400 palindromic prime numbers?" The first approach that comes to my mind from the set of languages that I know is to use some sort of lazy ...
54
votes
2answers
7k views

Is there an open source implementation of Mathematica-the-language?

I've seen questions before such as "What is the best open-source equivalent for Mathematica?", but that specific question (and that line of inquiry in general) cares more about the computer algebra ...
54
votes
4answers
3k views

Using the Mathematica front-end efficiently for editing notebooks

Background: I have used Vim for 15+ years. There is a certain "one"-ness with the editor one achieves. Emacs users also experience this. Notepad users do not. My current interaction with the ...
54
votes
1answer
2k views

Open-source IntelliJIDEA plugin to support Mathematica development

Although we already had a question asking for development alternatives to Wolfram Workbench, I want to ask a more specific question: One of the most advanced IDE's especially for Java programming ...
53
votes
3answers
6k views

Programmatic approach to HDR photography with Mathematica image processing functions

The High dynamic range imaging (HDR or HDRI) direction in photography and image processing became very popular recently. Besides obvious photo art applications (see examples), there are many great ...
53
votes
3answers
1k views

How to make use of Associations?

I have been curious about it for long. Now that Mathematica 10 arrives, I think it's time to ask the question: How the new Association data structure would be used ...
53
votes
5answers
4k views

ListPlot: Plotting large data fast

Mathematica produces fantastic-looking graphics, but it can be slow on large data sets. Here is an example for a (random) time series: ...
53
votes
3answers
5k views

Recovering data points from an image

Unfortunately, some data can only be obtained in picture form (Japanese publications anyone?). Since this cannot be worked with, it has to be converted to a dataset that can; I was wondering whether ...
52
votes
2answers
42k views

Cutting bagels into linked halves

I recently came across this video: Mathematically correct breakfast, which shows how a bagel can be neatly sliced into two identical linked halves. I'd like to try this with Mathematica. Here's a ...
51
votes
5answers
3k views

What does the construct f[x_] := f[x] = … mean?

This question mentions "x := x = trickery". What does defining a function as f[x_] := f[x] = ... do and what is it good for?
50
votes
2answers
1k views

Syntax highlighting for your own functions

Mathematica has a useful feature that for functions and special constructs getting passed local variables (for example Minimize or ...

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