as the first programming language

An initiative of the Section of Logic and Computation coordinated by Amílcar Sernadas.

The Section decided to introduce the language of *Mathematica*
as the first programming language taught to the first year
students at IST,
starting in 96/97 for:

- Chemical Engineering;
- Materials Engineering;
- Environmental Engineering;
- Mining Engineering.

More recently, this approach was extended to:

- Biological Engineering;
- Biomedical Engineering;
- Chemistry;
- Computer Science;
- Industrial Management and Engineering.

This choice was made taking into account the following
advantages of *Mathematica* over the classical
alternatives (around lower level languages such as Pascal, C or
FORTRAN90):

- Interactive prototyping environment;
- Data visualization tool;
- Symbolic computation besides numerical computation;
- Programming without concern for memory management;
- Several paradigms of programming:
- Functional;
- Recursive;
- Imperative (state-based);
- Rewriting system (rule-based).

The availability of a great number of good textbooks on *Mathematica*
and its application to sciences and engineering was also a major
factor.

It is expected that this intiative will have far reaching consequences for the teaching of subsequent courses on Numerical Methods and Calculus, as well as on specialized engineering courses where computation plays an important role.

The students will also be exposed to a lower level programming language at a later stage of their curricula.

- Programming with
*Mathematica*at IST (in Portuguese); - MathSource;
- Wolfram Research:

For futher information contact: acs@math.ist.utl.pt

Last update: October 3, 2002.