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Avoid instability of Mathematica 11.3?

Posted 1 year ago
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Following a recent upgrade from 11.2 to 11.3 I have found that Mathematica repeatedly crashes (black rather than coloured code) when using some custom functions that I have developed. It is not my Mac as similar problems occur on Macs belonging to my colleagues. Reverting to 11.2 or earlier solves the problem completely. I am still trying to isolate some trigger code examples that I can send to Wolfram support. Are others experiencing such crashes?

15 Replies

I did not find 11.3 to be any more crashy than 11.2. It must be something specific that is present in your code that causes the crash.

Running 11.3 under Windows 10, I have the general impression that the software is less stable particularly when accessing the documentation center for the first time. Things seem to momentarily hang, and sometimes crash.

I wish we had two Mathematica branches: one very stable and another one with the latest features. For example, people from NodeJS have the LTS (Long Term Support) and Current releases for that. In my case I would be using the LTS version for all the tools that I release for my team and Current only for exceptional exploratory work.

And yes, I have found and reported some crashes, but exclusive to 11.3.

The advantage of LTS releases is that they keep getting bug fixes, but they don't (often) get new bugs introduced, as no new features are added. Thus in the LTS the number of bugs goes down over time, while in the Current there's a balance between fixes and breakages.

I think that before experimenting with an LTS release, Wolfram should address a much bigger problem: bugs in certain functionality areas just don't get fixed. That's why I keep complaining about the Graph stuff—there are many serious bugs that haven't been touched at all through several releases. Actually, this functionality area isn't getting any new features either, so the bug number at least isn't going up ...

[To be fair, some Graph-bugs did get fixed, but most serious ones I found (silent wrong results, random results, etc.) still persist after multiple reports.]

I have not yet experienced any problems with the latest version:

In[3]:= $Version    
Out[3]= "11.3.0 for Linux x86 (64-bit) (March 7, 2018)"

... and I definitely like it - congrats to WR !

When you get these crashes, do you know offhand whether anything was happening in the user interface, such as scrolling of the mouse hovering over code? I've seen problems involving those sorts of situations (though on Linux), one of which I did manage to reproduce and report.

Hi, after upgrade to 11.3 it is a horror ( linux Mint 18.3). Mathematica leaves the kernel without any message. This happens during Simplify. I have 32 GB of memory, during these operations Mathematica uses less than 4GB. When I separate critical calculations into a new notebook, then it passes through.

Ditto, I use a mac (love it!), I had had issues with earlier 11, but 11.2 is good and 11.3 seem fine so far.

I suggest two things:

A typical mistake is to not see WR's installation instruction page (for mac) which says to (uninstall) the old version before installing the new (it's ok, you can still correct). go read that off the wolfram help pages and go step by step, but read #2 first.

You may need to rename these two folders: /Users/whoami/Library/{Wolfram,Mathematica} (when mathematica is not running). Restart your re-installed mathematica. You'll LOOSE settings and DATA stored in those two places (remediating that i don't mention), possibly paid download content (many people don't need to worry about it at all). The FOLDERS will be remade with defaults that are "surely compatible" with 11.3. (if you keep your 11.2 Library folder, and you may need to, you are bound to fix problems that might cause. as far as i know there are none currently but there has been in the past, issues re-using the Library/app folder's old settings)

Apple has great forums (the above advice about ~/Library can be found there and at the following places).

A good online resource for fixing minor issues on Apple devices, to avoid Support calls or trip to Apple store, is:

https://www.lifewire.com/fix-4102586

and

http://osxdaily.com

I had this problem for two months using Simplify within some complex code. I stripped down examples so that they would crash nearly 100% of the time and sent them to Wolfram. They were still too big for the Wolfram people to analyze. The bottom line is that 11.3 was so unstable that it is completely useless to me. I reverted to 11.2 and have been happy ever since ... (except for the fact that Wolfram still hasn't fixed 11.3 ... I check from time to time).

I am using the latest Mac laptop with 32 GB of memory ... but the crashes also happened on my older laptop with 16GB of memory. The program was nowhere near the memory limits and was not grinding for hours ... it could happen within minutes of executing the code.

So the problem is not just with the Macs in Imperial College, London…(where many of us have given up with 11.3 - so are sticking doggedly to 11.2).

Interesting that you just need to call Simplify on a big piece of code to create the crash. Our problems similarly involve transformations of complicated functions that require a lot of memory.

I suspect a memory management problem in 11.3. It may be specific to Mac OSX as the programmer at Wolfram that I exchanged some of my problem files with was running another system and could not replicate the crashes.

It would be nice if Wolfram would wake up, take interest and fix such a fundamental error.

@Nicholas, @Rudolph: With help from our Technical Serviices group I found some of your examples.

I verified that a factorization crashed in 11.3 (I do not recall who sent which example but this was from a notebook that used a large expression named coulomb). There was a prior simplification example that I ran to completion. I did not try to test it with multiple runs because it involved some steps that have interactions between front end interface and kernel (via Monitor).

I also verified that a Simplify example from a notebook named with "HarmonicAnalysys" in the name was crashing in 11.3.

I suspect both crashes have a common cause involving PolynomialGCD internals. Both appear to have been addressed for version 12, in that I could do several runs of each with no crash (also they seem a bit faster). I apologize for any inconvenience this problem has caused.

Got some crashes too, Mac OSX, 16GB of memory

Please can you specify your Mathematica version and any other relevant info.

Posted 22 days ago

Long-time user, big-time fan, and first-time replier:

I just upgraded to 11.3 (Mac OS X x86 64-bit) and the following crashed the kernel:

Map[Normalize, 
   RandomVariate[
    MultinormalDistribution[ConstantArray[0, 6], IdentityMatrix[6]], 
    10^6]];

I was able to isolate it to Map and to the size of the list, where 10^4 works, but 10^6 does not. Therefore, I had to go back to 11.2, where there is no problem.

Posted 22 days ago

I recently upgraded from mma 7 to 11.3. I'm running Windows 7 Professional 64 bit. I keep having issues with 11.3. For example, after evaluating a simple expression (e.g. 1+1) in an old notebook, a popup message appears "One or more dynamic objects are taking excessively long to finish....", and the notebook freezes. There are no dynamic commands (e.g. Manipulate[ ]) in the notebook. Wolfram Support's suggestion was to do a "clean start", but the problems did not go away. Numerous other stability issues have meant that I have gone back to v7, which is comparatively rock steady. I wonder if my problems are because I have both 7 and 11.3 installed, although that was suggested as being viable in the installation procedure for Windows.

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