1. Jul 24, 2012

### Swimmingly!

I've heard of Mathematica and Mathlab. Also I haven't seen any post dedicating for helping find a software so...

I'm looking for a function that allows me to do math, including writing my own functions and algorithms. This may or not be a software dedicated to math but it'd really help if it is free.

An example of the possibly messiest things I may want to do is a lot of recursion, example:
For function A find function B:
Algorithm to find B:
-Compute A(1).
-Define a function C based on A(1).
-Compute C(A(1))
-Define a function D based on C(A(1))
Keep doing this 5 times and the last function is B.

2. Jul 24, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

You can do a lot of what you mention just using Excel. It's not free, but you probably already have it on your computer(s) for other tasks.

You can also use most programming languages to do what you indicate. You could use Tcl/TK or PERL, for example, or even just C. There are free versions of those and other programming languages available at websites like SourceForge.net:

http://sourceforge.net/

.

3. Jul 24, 2012

### Bill Simpson

In the free category:
Maxima http://maxima.sourceforge.net/
Reduce http://www.reduce-algebra.com/
Sage http://www.sagemath.org/
Pari http://pari.math.u-bordeaux.fr/

Comparison list of computer algebra http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_computer_algebra_systems

But you probably should realize that almost nothing is really really free.
By choosing a tool just because the purchase price is zero you can often end up with something where you are nearly out in a forest all by yourself and when you need an answer to a question the solution is "figger it out for yourself."

Computer algebra software tools are almost always large and very complex. If you add up the cost of the (hopefully available) 2-6 books you need to buy and study to start to get the hang of this plus the cost of your time for the first hundreds to thousands of hours of intense study and work and practice to become fairly competent at using it that will almost certainly be considerably more than the purchase price of the "non free" tools.

My advice is to ignore the purchase price, if any, and get whatever those around you and in your field are using. That will give you the greatest leverage and help you start getting the answers you need as efficiently as possible. And you can more easily share problems and solutions and data with those around you.

You might also post a really concrete specific understandable simple few examples of the sort of problems you are thinking of attacking. These need to be described in a way that someone who doesn't know anything about all the things inside your head can understand. If the examples are well done then a few people might be able to show you how to attempt to solve such problems, if anyone knows of a way to do that.

4. Jul 24, 2012

### Swimmingly!

I tried open office excel. It started having some problems when I asked for the value of Cell(something, something). (and a better one would be nice

I have absolutely nobody working around me or in my field (which in a way is non existent) so that's not a problem.

The problem is in: