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Mathematica v. "crowd projects": crowds are showing good progress, so?

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Mathematica v. "crowd projects": crowds are showing good progress, so?

For example: there are open (and proprietary) chemical modelers now: not just molview: ones that simulate real reactions even in real time - while MM shows only 2D diagrams (or 3D of these - which isn't actual atomic positions). Similarly for electronics: no simulator - and packages that began to make them have "dis-appeared". Similarly for (3d gaming / city type modeling) - the capability is there but a drive to integrate them: not existing.

The number of "for sale add-ons" has reduced: http://www.wolfram.com/products/fields/. It used to be maybe hundreds of projects and books.

The packages that "add functionality", also reduced - but these sometimes became integrated into MM. Instead there's CDF - so many they have to reject submissions: but many simulate a single aspect of a very limited topic. Some of these CDF are amazing and it's an amazing strength of MM to allow the making of them - and they're critical because simulators can't solve these kinds of focused problems.

What all those other projects DO NOT have of course is Mathematica's vast ability. By developing from low level languages - those group projects are mostly closed ended. You can do something if there's a button, if not - forget it.

Mathematica HAS greatly beaten crowd software in some areas - especially mathematics, but in several other areas too. We see WR has a financial package making progress - but the reason for it's success is rather obvious: internal employees are bending mathematica and getting paid - so of course that makes progress (it doesn't count toward the question).

SO MY QUESTION TO ALL IS: Why is mathematica not attracting crowd projects? Is it lack of collaboration feature within the software? Lack of motivation or advertising or web sites (organizing people's efforts)? Are Packages (paclets??) more difficult to share or collaborate? (it Should be easier to share notebooks - noting "upgrades" sometimes cause notebooks to stop working - but that seemed to be during a great transition of 3D graphics over past 2D). Could it even be lack of Grant funding (some of those open projects are backed in "other ways").

QUESTION IS: What feature would lead YOU to work with others and contribute to an open project: "a realtime chemical modeler", "a realtime circuit simulator", "a 3D design interface", "a robot / sensor engine", etc ? (leaving the question of modularity, and if MM is better kept a "tool that can do anything" aside)

thanks all, hope to hear your opinions

POSTED BY: John Hendrickson
Answer
2 months ago

It would be great to have a way for many volunteers to work on calculating record numbers of digits of the MRB constant. I have a program, originally written by the late Richard Crandall (a chief scientist), that I have optimized for recent versions of Mathematica, that I have tried, with little success to enable many users to collaborate their efforts on. I would be enthused if anyone could work on it in such a way to get it so others could join me in my efforts. Various versions of the code, some brief expositions, and reasons why (or examples of how) it is so hard to compute are found in my post, Try to Break these MRB Constant Records -- http://community.wolfram.com/groups/-/m/t/366628 .

The MRB is a key fundamental constant according to Crandall -- http://marvinrayburns.com/UniversalTOC25.pdf . It is also a Google Scholar subject -- https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22MRB+constant%22 .

POSTED BY: Marvin Ray Burns
Answer
2 months ago

Why is mathematica not attracting crowd projects?

There's an interesting article related to this in a recent issue of The Atlantic magazine. It's about the future of the scientific paper (as a medium) and then compares the approaches to this taken by the teams responsible for developing Mathematica and Jupyter notebooks. In other words, it's much more a discussion of two cultures (cathedral vs. bazaar is called out) than of two products and their respective features sets.

It's worth reading – never mind its silly title. The site requires you to turn off adblocking to read it (or just temporarily disable javascript in your browser).

POSTED BY: Arno Bosse
Answer
2 months ago

Thank you. As to the "interesting article", I think Mathematica 4.0's hard copy book "nailed it". If only they didn't allow WR employees to alter MM to cause sci papers to "stop working" is all I'd add (which the book indicated was/is a goal).

Mathematica can be used to write "real software" not just "showing something on paper" ... "clang" is not better than mathematica. But I omit a discussion why.

POSTED BY: John Hendrickson
Answer
2 months ago

I did read some of the MRB posts. But frankly I do not know what the value is of finding it (is it like finding a new prime number? why find it?)

POSTED BY: John Hendrickson
Answer
2 months ago

I learned only after writing that Mathematica has "built-in chat".

I'm unsure if these projects, that get several or tens of contributors aren't run by colleges.

Here's what motivated my post. Mathematica does not show AgNO3 but does show HNO3 (noting: as organic chem chart - which does NOT show actual attachment per say - in this case H is shown bonded to O instead of N). However pubchem (which somebody said mm used as data source) does show Ag - but not where bonded. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/#

Next consider http://www.biomolecular-modeling.com/Abalone/abalone-ii.html or https://www.cp2k.org/features.

They are "funded somehow" and perhaps contributors are not paid: YET THE GROW significantly (note they are not necessarily good alternatives to non-free software doing much the same: but may be better - it may depend on funding).

Chemistry (a huge list of free softwares) is only one example of growth of "huge" projects in 2nd level "non-science" languages (based on C/clang libs or began with free software and built on top).

But it's FAR FAR more than just chemistry. Any direction you look some (college or funded individual) has made huge progress in a free language (electrical sims, chem sims, geographic syms, building model sims, etc). But these are LIMITED: they don't interoperate and don't collaborate, and are impossible to expand or work with like Mathematica.

Meanwhile Mathematica does have "chat" and remote kernel connect. these really are "collaboration" (which professions building design software has). But it's not "PRESENTED" as it: you'd have to put 2+2 together to realize you can collaborate and use it that way :) And there are no (grants?) for people who develop these projects (we assume one person is funded, the rest are encouraged to contribute but don't share in the glory).

YET PROGRESS IS PROGRESS. politics aside. What can Mathematica do to encourage the same growth we see for "large projects" (rather than small CDF)?

POSTED BY: John Hendrickson
Answer
2 months ago

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