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Letter from Tom Issaevitch, Wolfram Research Inc.

Dear Sir,

With regard to the article ``A Review of CAS Mathematical Capabilities'' by Micheal Wester, Computer Algebra Nederland (December 1994): we believe that the fact that Dr. Wester has written, and continues to write core Macsyma packages for Macsyma Inc. should have been mentioned. While we do not doubt Dr. Wester's intent, being a developer for a software package as individualized as each of the packages reviewed cannot help but bias the results in favor of that package. Such affiliation implies prejudgment of what a math software package ``should'' do as well as the ``natural'' way to do it. In particular, this particular review focused heavily on areas of Macsyma strength (real parameters and simple assumptions) while avoiding other areas entirely (e.g. numerics, pattern matching, rule-based programming and speed and memory issues) which are not areas for which Macsyma is noted. In contrast, these omitted areas happen to be ones in which Mathematica is known to excel.

It is probable that no competent reviewer of mathematical software can be completely unbiased. However, affiliations and pre-experiences should be clearly stated.


Tom Issaevitch
Wolfram Research

Andre Heck
Sun Apr 23 10:32:10 MDT 1995