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An Engineer's Guide to Mathematica by Edward B. Magrab

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1 Mathematica® Environment and Basic Syntax

1.1 Introduction

Mathematica is a programming language that integrates, through its notebook interface, symbolic and numerical computations, visualization, documentation, and dynamic interactivity. It provides access to a large collection of such diverse and continually updated and expanded data sets as geometric shapes, a searchable dictionary, and individual country attributes. It also permits one to simultaneously program with different programming paradigms, such as procedural, functional, rule-based, and pattern-based. Its interface has a real-time input semantics evaluator that uses styling and coloring to provide immediate visual feedback on such coding aspects as function names, variable selection, and argument structures. Many of the Mathematica functions used for computation and visualization contain a fair amount of high-level automation so that the user has to interact minimally with their inner workings. If desired, many aspects of the automation procedures can be bypassed and specific choices can be selected.

In this book, we shall employ a subset of Mathematica’s library of functions and use them to obtain solutions to a variety of engineering applications. It will be found as one becomes more confident with Mathematica that it is most effectively used interactively. In later chapters, emphasis will be placed on displaying the results as dynamically interactive graphical displays so that real-time parametric investigations ...

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