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Significant difference between Maple and Mathematica for physicists?

by LennoxLewis
Tags: difference, maple, mathematica, physicists
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Mar22-09, 01:04 PM
P: 121
I'm a physicist and i've used Maple during my study (where it was common), but some people use Mathematica. Can anyone who has experience with both tell me if there are any big differences between the two? It seems to me that both are rather similar, unlike for instance Matlab which is more numerical and (small) programming-aimed.

p.s. there's no forum section on computer physics/math, and since i'm not interested in "pure" mathematics, but instead things like function manipulation, (system) DE sovling, etc etc. If any admin knows a better spot for this thread then by all means, do so.
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Mar23-09, 05:23 PM
P: 121
Mar23-09, 05:46 PM
P: 192
I find Mathematica to be a better all around package, while Maple is superior for some tasks in discrete math. Mathematica has a steep but fruitful learning curve and supports a very high level kind of functional programming, while Maple supports a more typical procedural programming paradigm. This means that Maple is often more familiar to people with past programming experience, while Mathematica's functional programming is more abstract and for some people never sinks in (I taught a course on Mathematica for Physics at a university).

The main reason to use Mathematica is that before while designing a computational physics curriculum for undergraduate physics majors the overwhelming reply from professors at schools across the country was to teach them Mathematica and C++. Like I said, Maple is superior is certain niches but in general Mathematica is better.

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