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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 ...
135k 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 ...
13k 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: ...
12k 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 ...
41k 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 ...
12k views

How do I work with Root objects?

I want to solve the trigonometric equation : $$(3-\cos 4x )\cdot (\sin x - \cos x ) = 2.$$ I tried Solve[(3 - Cos[4*x])*(Sin[x] - Cos[x]) == 2, x] It returns the ...
17k 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 ...
7k 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 ...
60k 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 ...
10k views

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

When reading through the documentation, you often encounter the phrases DownValues, UpValues, ...
13k 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?...
9k views

Why does MatrixForm affect calculations?

This is a really newbie question, but it has me confused. Why does this code work without // MatrixForm and doesn't work with ...
11k 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?
6k 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 ...
2k views

Enforcing correct variable bindings and avoiding renamings for conflicting variables in nested scoping constructs

Using global variables the following turns an "expression" into a Function: expr = 2 x; Function[x, Evaluate[expr]] Of course ...
3k views

How are parameters evaluated for a Plot in Manipulate

I am trying to get my head around how Manipulate evaluates functions in a Plot. I have read the introduction to Manipulate, and introduction to Dynamic, but I still ...
75k views

Assign the results from a Solve to variable(s)

I understand Mathematica can't assign the results of a Solve to the unknowns because there may be more than 1 solution. How can I assign the 4 values of following result to variables? ...
13k views

Why should I avoid the For loop in Mathematica?

Some people advise against the use of For loops in Mathematica. Why? Should I heed this advice? What is wrong with For? What ...
10k views

About multi-root search in Mathematica for transcendental equations

I have some questions for multiroot search for transcendental equations. Is there any clever solution to find all the roots for a transcendental equation in a specific range? Perhaps ...
4k views

Dynamic Euler–Bernoulli beam equation

I am trying to solve for the vibration of a Euler–Bernoulli beam. The equation is $\frac{\partial ^2u(t,x)}{\partial t^2}+\frac{\partial ^4u(t,x)}{\partial x^4}=0$ For the boundary conditions I ...
4k views

Replacement inside held expression

I wish to make a replacement inside a held expression: f[x_Real] := x^2; Hold[{2., 3.}] /. n_Real :> f[n] The desired output is ...
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/...
3k views

Function in Table

I need a table with the elements made of pure functions and list elements. This is a simplified example: I need a list as: ...
12k 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 ...