Stephen Wolfram Q&A

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Some collected questions and answers by Stephen Wolfram

Questions may be edited for brevity; see links for full questions.

January 1, 1993

From: Interview by Michael Swaine, Dr. Dobb's Journal

What were the intellectual roots of Mathematica?

I got to do a test run of some of the ideas in Mathematica in a system called SMP that I built in the late ’70s or early ’80s. It was more oriented toward computer algebra; it wasn’t as ambitious a system as Mathematica. What I did there was a very educational experience. I tried to impose on people what I thought to be a good, but rather an unusual model of programming…

The model of programming was that of pattern matching and transformation rules. Pretty much everything in that system was done with pattern matching and transformation rules. If you were going to write programs in SMP they pretty much had to be in that paradigm.

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