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Math Plotting Software for Electrical Engineering

  1. Jun 24, 2014 #1
    Hi All:

    I am an electrical engineering undergrad. I would like to learn a math plotting software which would be helpful in visualizing topics in advanced calculus (my immediate need). It would also be helpful if the math plotting software was of some use in electrical engineering, but this is not mandatory. The selection criteria is listed here in decreasing weight:

    1. Ease of Use (syntax and techniques that are somewhat intuitive and easy to adapt to other problem areas)
    2. Healthy ecosystem (lots of tutorials, examples online, books and other resources
    3. Industry use (looking for the most commonly used software suites within engineering and science)
    4. Adaptability (commonly used outside mathematics. ie. electrical engineering, modeling).

    I have narrowed my search down to:
    1. Matlab
    2. Mathematica
    3. Maple

    But this list is by no means exclusive. Currently I am leaning towards Matlab, because I have seen it being used in upper year courses in my electrical engineering program.

    I would appreciate your input with regard to which software suite would be best and why. Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2014 #2
    I am also an EE student, going into his fourth year. We use matlab a lot for our projects and reports. It is extremely easy to use, very intuitive, and quite powerful. I can't speak for industry. Nobody I know that is actually working as an EE uses or even needs that kind of software for their job. But academically, we use it all time.
     
  4. Jun 24, 2014 #3

    Student100

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    Three biggest software programs you might use as an electrical engineer are:

    LabView
    MatLab
    Pspice or Multisim

    As a student you can get copies of these inexpensively. Matlab I think is 100 bucks. Labview and Multisim will probably run you 50.

    As far as your list goes Matlab would be the best to learn as an EE. Doing math in it is more of a pain than the others, but you’ll be using it again later most likely anyway.

    At my previous job EE's used Matlab and Labview quite often.
     
  5. Jun 24, 2014 #4
    I have experience with Maple and right now I am using Matlab. Maple meets #1 and 2 on your list. Matlab more 3 and 4. I think matlab may have a steeper learning curve, but is more powerful for application.
     
  6. Jun 24, 2014 #5
    I am surprise to see no mention of any of the open source choices...maybe Mancuso is not aware of such thing?

    There are many free choices for plotting and graphing, but I am just going to mention one: Python and its entire ever growing ecosystem meets all 4 points...easy to learn, use and adapt, great ecosystem (many fields) and user community, tutorials, books, etc; very much used among engineers and scientists and even in commercial programs as the scripting language; used in many, many fields.
     
  7. Jun 25, 2014 #6
    Thanks for the input everyone. I have asked in a few different places and the consensus seems to be with Matlab. Plotting is secondary to Matlabs's primary uses in EE, but I think it shall suffice for my needs. There was also some consensus in supplimenting Matlabs plotting with Mathematica. Thanks again everyone.

    ps. I do know of and use open source solutions, but I'm looking for something well supported in industry, online and books.
     
  8. Jun 25, 2014 #7

    Student100

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    Get the matlab student text.

    Just be warned doing some calculus in matlab is a pain.
     
  9. Jun 25, 2014 #8
    Yes. After a semester of learning maple and doing very mathy type stuff (number theory, linear algebra, calculus) I was surprised how difficult it was to learn matlab. I think maple is designed to let you "hit the ground running" whereas matlab is more of big boy science app.
     
  10. Jun 26, 2014 #9
    I've done some plotting on maple and it is rather straight forward. No doubt that Matlab is probably more cumbersome for some calculus.
     
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