"When will Wiki become popular?" the aficionados groan.

Better to ask, "When will confluent hypergeometric functions become popular?"

Maybe never. Or maybe both are already quite popular --- but hardly anyone notices. Confluent hypergeometric functions, like Wiki, are tools for solving particular classes of problems. They can be used by novices, cookbook-fashion, to get a standard job done ... or by masters, with creative insight, in startling and fruitful ways.

Really powerful tools don't have to be on the top-ten list in this week's newspaper. They don't have to be a source of brand-name cash flow either.

Like knitting needles ... welding torches ... pencils ... horses ... metaphors ...

(see also ThinkingEnvironments (7 Apr 1999), WikiIsIt (31 Oct 2001), ...)

TopicProgramming - TopicArt - Datetag20020920

(correlates: LoLa, MetaHominidae, ChivalrousReasoning, ...)