Mathematica turns 20

Mathematica was first released June 23, 1988. I started using Mathematica not long after it came out and used it for a few years. Then for several years after that I didn’t touch it. When I began using Mathematica again several years after that, I was afraid that like Rip Van Winkle, I’d find many things had changed while I was gone. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to start using it again.

Mathematica syntax is simple, consistent, and predictable. They got this right twenty years ago and stuck to it. They’ve managed to grow over the years without alienating users, even those of us who take a long hiatus from using the product. I’ve used Mathematica more or less regularly over the last few years, but I’ll still go for weeks at a time without using it. It’s easy to pick up every time I return to it. (The opposite of my experience with Perl.)