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Part 2

Part 1 introduced Mathematica by showing you how to use some of its more common features. This Part looks at Mathematica in a different way. Instead of discussing individual features, it concentrates on the global structure of Mathematica, and describes the framework into which all the features fit.

When you first start doing calculations with Mathematica, you will probably find it sufficient just to read the relevant parts of Part 1. However, once you have some general familiarity with the Mathematica system, you should make a point of reading this Part.

This Part describes the basic structure of the Mathematica language, with which you can extend Mathematica, adding your own functions, objects or other constructs. This Part shows how Mathematica uses a fairly small number of very powerful symbolic programming methods to allow you to build up many different kinds of programs.

Most of this Part assumes no specific prior knowledge of computer science. Nevertheless, some of it ventures into some fairly complicated issues. You can probably ignore these issues unless they specifically affect programs you are writing.

If you are an expert on computer languages, you may be able to glean some understanding of Mathematica by looking at the Reference Guide at the end of this book. Nevertheless, to get a real appreciation for the principles of Mathematica, you will have to read this Part.