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[Axiom-developer] Comparison of Spad, Boot, Reduce and Common Lisp for n

From: Bill Page
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Comparison of Spad, Boot, Reduce and Common Lisp for numerical computation
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 08:44:07 -0400

Dear panAxiom Developers,

On the Axiom-Wiki website at

Mark Clements writes:

"How useful are the different CAS languages for implementing numerical
routines? Prompted by a comparison of R and C for implementing
Fisher's exact test for 2x2 tables
(, I thought that it would be
interesting to implement this particular test in Spad, Boot, Reduce
and Common Lisp (see below). Each set of code was required to
implement a univariate root finder and the hypergeometric distribution
to calculate the p-value under different alternatives, together with
the 95% confidence interval and the maximum likelihood estimator for
the odds ratio. The reference implementation is R, ...

As a caveat: I have little experience with these programs. Any changes
or improvements to the programs would be welcomed."

Thank you, Mark! I think this is a great contribution.

Of course any comparison like is inevitably biased by the previous
experience and skill of the programmer. I think Mark has done a pretty
good job of the coding but there are some obvious improvements and/or
changes in style that could be made. Besides Mark's original goal, I
think there are several ways in which a comparison like this might be
useful to others, not the least of which is to serve as a way of
learning more about the alternative of using of Boot and Lisp in
panAxiom. If you have some time available, I hope you will take Mark
up on his invitation to suggest changes or improvements to his

Bill Page.

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