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Math Programs

  1. May 26, 2007 #1
    So here's the situation:
    I am going to be a junior (this fall), and am majoring in mathematics. That being said, I have just about zero computer background (although I am taking computer science 1 in the fall, as I think it would be a good thing to learn). So anyway, I decided I want to buy a laptop and put some "heavy duty" math programs on it. I was wondering if there was a math program(s) that any fellow math people would recommend- like mathematica, maple, matlab, etc... Also how hard are they to learn how to use? Like I said, right now I know just about zero programming stuff, and have had no experience with these programs (I've done everything on paper so far). Any advice?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2007 #2


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    Maple is very powerful and easy to learn. If you're looking for a free alternative, I recommend maxima.
    Yea, try to keep it this way. Its better!
  4. May 27, 2007 #3
    I'm agree

    It's absolutely better to do most things on paper, however, a computer can be a very helpful tool. I think students have to be careful to not use it to do their work- but I also believe if used correctly, it can aid learning.... but what do I know? I've had very little experience with them. Anyway, thanks for the reply!
  5. May 27, 2007 #4
    Even with an educational discount, most of the biggies are still pretty expensive, with Mathcad perhaps being an exception (student edition is pretty limited though). Without a lot of computer or programming experience, you'll have a pretty steep learning curve to climb. I'd recommend adding a few introductory programming courses to your schedule.

    If you're on a budget (and what university student isn't?), I recommend the following free alternatives:

    * Octave - Matlab like clone (http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/)
    * R - S like clone for doing stats (http://www.r-project.org/)
    * Maxima - for doing symbolic stuff (http://maxima.sourceforge.net/)

    All of them have pretty self-contained binaries available for Windows.
  6. May 28, 2007 #5
    I recommend Maple for a mathematician but before buying a software consult to your department's system administrator. Some universities have a campus license for some programs. Learning Maple may be harder than some other but it worths. I also recommend you to learn a programming language like Fortran for numerical cases. Octave and Maxima are very good programs and having a knowledge about them would be nice for you.
  7. May 28, 2007 #6

    Thanks for the replies, they have been helpful.
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