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What Should We Call the Language of Mathematica?

Posted 9 years ago
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In his latest blog post Stephen Wolfram asks the question: "What Should We Call the Language of Mathematica?" After reading the post I learned quite a bit about history of Mathematica and various ways one can go around giving names to concepts, languages and products. The goal of the post is to ask the readership for any suggestions on naming the Mathematica language. If you have any thoughts to share – please do! Follow this link to read the blog and here is quote to give you a preview:

What should the name be? I’m hoping to get feedback on the ideas I’ve discussed here, as well as to get new suggestions. I must say that as I was writing this post, I was sort of hoping that in the end it would be a waste, and that by explaining the problem, I would solve it myself. But that hasn’t happened. Of course, I’ll be thrilled if someone else just outright suggests a great name that we can use. But as I’ve described, there are many constraints, and what I think is more realistic is for people to suggest frameworks and concepts from which we’ll get an idea that will lead to the final name.
15 Replies
Express.  

1.  It is what one does in Mathematica.
2. It is short even with a Wolfram prefix
3. It captures the idea of everything being a Mathematica Express-ion
4. One could probably develop a good logo around it.
5. It captures the idea of things being fast and direct, which is part of what Mathematica is about.
Interesting, Seth, “Express” too was my favorite out of the the terms given in the blog. And for all the same reasons that you mentioned. I really liked the coincidence (or not?) that the same term outlines the fundamental structure of the language ( "Everything Is an Expression" in Mathematica ) and its top level virtue ( how easy it is to express ideas in Mathematica ). I was surprised I did not hear that one before considering how early the term came around.
Reading the blog and thinking for a bit after, the following names came to mind:
  • Emerge
  • Genesis
  • Enlight – from enlighten
  • Synthesis
  • Ankol – from “a new kind of language”
I dislike Express.
Not everything in Mathematica is an expression: A Mathematica package (.m file) is not an expression, at least not distinguishable from any other CompoundExpression.
And a comment is also not an expression.
Of all the proposals I've seen, I like Express the best, too, for all the reasons you've outlined.  I had earlier thought of Expressions, as in "it's written in Expressions", but that seemed too literal, and probably not the attribute we necessarily want to emphasize.  But Express nicely captures that idea as well as the the speed with which you can prototype ideas with Mathematica.
Express seems to already exist as a programming (data modelling language):
My favorite was "Tungsten." It has the subtle reference to Wolfram, but doesn't sound too brand-attached, like "Wolfram Programming Language." Imagine: "Oh, that? I made that in Tungsten."
Hi over there, 

this has been discussed years ago in mathgroup, I believe, and one of the more awkward suggestions was M.A.P.L.E. (Mathematica Programming Language) - to my regret I cannot find a reference anymore - after that proposal the issue faded out. So, more seriously, the Mathematica Reference speaks about "Mathematica Core Language", this would be "MaCoLa", or, in the extreme: "CoLa". 

By the way, there is Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, if you could place another <X> Cola, it would be a buster. 

Wolfram Programming Language is WoProLa (sounds like an eastern german synthetic  fibre) - not appealing, WOPLA - you wan't read this again, Wolfrapl - yeah!

Let's turn back to the question, what is the <X> in <X> Cola? What does Mathematica: It lives from Stephens insight into the structure of expressions, therefore doing far more than algebra, analysis or other mathematical stuff. It's a type of framework to get things in an out of a computing facility (and transforming it inside - of course).

In German there is the term "Stellenalgebra", a "Stelle" is the # in Lambda-Expressions, therefore I would propose the name Lambda Cola.

Think about it, it consists of 2 words, each word has 2 syllables and as "Lambda Core Language" it's not too bad a description about the intentions and workings of Mathematica.

P.S.: (... there is the MOMA in New York and the MOMATH is in New York too ...)
Iff the Corporation name has to appear: Wolfram Cola.
Today my favorite language name is "Nu".

It rolls off the tip of your tongue.

It can take on its own identity, unburdened by unwanted associations and strained connotations.

It acknowledges the Greek heritage of Alpha and Omega.

In German, "im Nu" means "in an instant".

It admits clever headlines:

    What's Nu?

    A Nu Kind of Language

    Write Something Nu For a Change
Perhaps a package of NKS notebooks could be called 'A Nu Kind of Science'.
M is not so bad because M sounds like (and can be used as an abbreviation of) Mathematica, mathematics, multiparadigm, modelling… Mathematica is not so bad, for schematically it represents mathematics + algorithms (in the sense of algorithmic thinking, a computational approach to sciences) and mathematics fundamentally embed algorithmics ; by mathematics I think of a modern, renewed, extended approach of the discipline regarding it as information and knowledge science. Last but not least, Mathematica has been a widely accepted use for about 25 years so users are used to it. Mathematica is more than a language, even more than a piece of software; it is an idea about some practical, computational way of doing science, a genuine new kind of science, deeply rooted in the former way of doing science but extending and renewing it. Otherwise, I hardly dare suggest NKM (New Kind of Mathematics)…
I was told that the decision has already been made. 
I would invent a new word which does not try to be grand, but simply alludes to the history of the language.  My favorites, more or less in order, are  
1) Matca
This one suggests a language which distilled out of Mathematica

2) Macal
This one suggests "the mathematica language"

3) Maca
This one is easiest to say and will save lots of ink over the years.

In general, keep it simple, and hook the name into the Mathematica product.  In my own thinking I call it Mathca, but I don't want the word Math in the chosen name --too limiting.

I have not checked any of my suggestions for copyrights or off-putting meanings in english or other languages.
Posted 9 years ago
How about Characteristica? In line with Leibniz thoughts/musings concerning a universal language, etc.

The name is admittedly cumbersome; especially from an advertising/marketing pronunciation perspective. However, perhaps apropos in breadth and depth of Mathematica, its language, future and data repositories taken as a whole thought in general?

Hopefully someone (maybe in a language other than English??) has a derivation of Characteristica that embodies the thought but rolls of the lips better?

Anyway just a thought trying to join in with the nature of the request; I doubt Leibnitz would find umbrage with the utilization.
Wolfram (Almost) PseudoCode

I feel like it pretty sums up mathematica.
<^.^>
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