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The Mobile Polynomial

New software puts the power of Mathematica into your phone

1 min read

You never know when you’ll be dining out with your friends and have to work out a partial derivative or two. This neat little program puts hundreds of mathematics and graphics functions into such a small package that it fits into Palm, Windows Mobile, and other smart phones, including—most recently—the iPhone. Of course, it also runs on regular Windows, Macintosh, and Linux computers.

SpaceTime resembles a tiny version of the Mathematica or Maple analytical programs. Its creator, Chris DeSalvo, started out as a game designer, which perhaps explains how he managed to squeeze some astonishingly nice graphics and even animated displays onto such tiny screens. There are even sliders that let you vary a parameter and see the effects on a plotted function. SpaceTime is very easy to use, remarkably powerful, and the price is right.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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