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From: Yuriy Koblents-Mishke (yurakm_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-02-10 16:39:17

Well, the distinction between the theory of probability and analysis
is equally arbitrary. However it is a real-life fact that they form
two separate branches of mathematics: different people work in these
areas, they evolved substantially independently, though with some
cross pollination, they use different terminology as characteristic
functions vs. Fourier transforms, etc., etc.

There is a good reason for the separation: the users of probability /
statistics and of analysis form two distinct sets with a tiny
intersection. The same is likely to happen with readers / users of
Statistical Distribution and Special Functions parts of your manual.

For example, in my seventeen years of experience with economic
modeling, we worked every day with normal, log-normal, Poisson,
Pareto, and many other distributions, but I cannot remember a singe
case when a single researcher used spherical harmonics or elliptic
integrals. Our economists, probably, never hear these words, and most
likely even mathematicians all but completely forgot them. I can
imagine easily my former colleagues intimidated by special functions
when browsing documentation, and putting aside the library completely.
A typical user of special functions hardly will be intimidated by
statistical distributions, but more often than not he will regard this
part of manual as a mildly distracting noise.

Of course, gamma is gamma and beta is beta, but this message is about

And, by the way, Pareto is not mentioned in the manual.

Sincerely,

Yura

On 2/8/07, Paul A Bristow <pbristow_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> I don't really see three parts. Any distinction between distributions and so-called special functions, or indeed the
> 'not-so-special' functions like log, exp sin is purely arbitrary: they are all math functions IMO. It is true that, in general,
> distribution functions use 'special functions' which in turn use 'not-so-special' functions, but IMO it would be confusing to try to
> divide them.
>
> A review does indeed need input from various people with different areas of expertise, but I don't realy see how to avoid this.
> Hopefully they will just limit their comments to what they know about ;-)
>
> There are also some serious practical problems about a retrospective division - not least the documentation, where we have worked
> quite hard to provide cross linking, and now over 250 pages as a pdf! Not to mention the code, cross function use, and common error
> handling etc.
>
> Paul