All Questions

585
votes
6answers
181k views

xkcd-style Plots

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 ...
512
votes
19answers
125k 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 ...
434
votes
37answers
89k 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 ...
276
votes
6answers
138k views

How do I draw a pair of buttocks?

I'm trying to develop a function which 3D plot would have a buttocks like shape. Several days of searching the web and a dozen my of own attempts to solve the issue have brought nothing but two ...
208
votes
7answers
11k 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: ...
194
votes
2answers
40k 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 ...
188
votes
2answers
61k 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) ...
172
votes
3answers
38k 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 ...
169
votes
2answers
9k views

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

When reading through the documentation, you often encounter the phrases DownValues, UpValues, ...
163
votes
9answers
53k 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 ...
162
votes
6answers
18k 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 ...
161
votes
3answers
13k 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.
160
votes
1answer
28k 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 ...
159
votes
18answers
11k 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 Mathematica?...
153
votes
5answers
13k 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" ...
151
votes
8answers
15k 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 ...
148
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
142
votes
4answers
23k 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, ...
142
votes
3answers
10k 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 ...
137
votes
9answers
39k 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 ...
136
votes
7answers
27k 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 ...
131
votes
3answers
16k 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 ...
126
votes
5answers
14k 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 stylesheet....
125
votes
8answers
7k 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 .Net/...
124
votes
9answers
9k views

General strategies to write big code in Mathematica?

I think after six months of exposure to Mathematica and the Wolfram Language I am fairly OK with writing short codes and snippets. However, what are some general strategies to use in order to write ...
123
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
118
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
117
votes
7answers
25k 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 ...
115
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
111
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
109
votes
7answers
13k 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 ...
109
votes
5answers
109k 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? If so, how does one do it? ...
109
votes
1answer
2k 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 through version 10.0 the performance of a / b and a - b is ...
108
votes
3answers
24k 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 ...
107
votes
9answers
20k views

Creating Mathematica packages

I'm building a package to help me write packages and their documentation. In this post I explained how to make a package and its documentation. In the answer I provided I describe how to build a very ...
105
votes
3answers
6k views

What is a Mathematica packed array?

A simple sounding question with a few sub questions: What is the difference between unpacked vs packed array? Are packed arrays more space efficent, how much so? Are packed arrays more time ...
103
votes
6answers
10k views

Minimal effort method for integrating C++ functions into Mathematica

Update: While at the time of writing the question loading DLLs with .NET/Link seemed easier, now I always use LibraryLink, which I recommend to anyone with a similar problem! As of Mathematica 8, ...
101
votes
9answers
5k 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 ...
98
votes
7answers
5k views

What is the most convenient way to read definitions of in-memory symbols when we don't have the source files? (Spelunking tools)

Note: I put Simon's implementation on GitHub. Contributions welcome! When trying to read the definition of already defined (package or built-in) symbols using ...
98
votes
6answers
24k 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 ...
97
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
95
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
93
votes
12answers
9k 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" ...
93
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
91
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it possible to define a new PlotTheme?

In version 10 one can define, say, $PlotTheme = "Scientific" Which changes the appearance of all plots. This is fantastic because on the one hand I can have nice ...
91
votes
4answers
3k views
90
votes
4answers
10k 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?
88
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
88
votes
2answers
5k views

Open-source IntelliJ IDEA 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 ...
86
votes
4answers
11k views

Plot draws list of curves in same color when not using Evaluate

This example comes from the Mathematica documentation for Plot under Basic Examples. Can someone please explain why these are each plotted as a different color in ...

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