# Matlab vs Maple vs Mathematica

• Mathematica
Gonzolo

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi, I have used Mathematica and Maple, and I have a few questions :

- What can Matlab do (do better) than Maple and Mathematica cannot (can?)?

- Can I fit data with Mathematica or Maple? (anyone has any experience with this?). I have like 1000 points.

- What are the major differences you know of between Mathematica and Maple? The first thing I notice is that you can execute one line at a time in Maple (easier to debug), but in Mathematica, every command is executed (unless I am missing something, how do you debug?).

Thanks.

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enigma
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I've not done much with Maple, and only used Mathematica a small amount.

IMO, in Matlab, it is much easier to manipulate data. I find the code required to do something as simple as change the third data point in a vector extremely clunky in Mathematica.

I also don't know if Mathematica or Maple have options to correspond to Matlab add-on packages like the Controls Systems package (which makes life much easier for certain problems)

krab
Use Matlab for generating/manipulating numerical data. Its natural use of vectors and matrices makes fitting, graphing, processing data a snap. But Mathematica is really a math tool. Use it to manipulate equations. With Mathematica you can handle complex math problems that would be simply too time-consuming to do by hand. I've not used Maple.

Where would MathCad fall into this mix. Just started using it. Is it the same as Maple?
There seems to be a limit as to how much data you can put into a single matrix.

graphic7
Gold Member
I can agree with enigma that Matlab is excellent for manipulating data, or dealing with any sort of matrix calculations..

From my experience Mathematica is ideal when it comes to symbolics such as differentiation and integration. I've seen a few cases where Mathematica blows Maple out of the water when one compares the types of integrals they can evaluate.

Maple and Matlab have the best graphics in my opinion. In both of them you are allowed to rotate 3D graphics and zoom in on the spot (2D) in realtime. In Mathematica things are little more complicated, which often illicits frustration. With Mathematica, in order to zoom, you must change the window that you are plotting with. By window, I'm referring to the range of data that you wish to evaluate a function(s) on. In order to change a 3D viewpoint, you must change it from a toolbox that can be found through a menu, and then replot.

As far as the best interface, I'll have to go with Maple on that one. From Maple 7 and on, I believe, you're able to right click on a function and do quite a few things with it, such as differentiate it or integrate (among other things) with respect to a variable (variables if the function contains multiple variables). This is just one example of Maple's interface superiority compared to that of Mathematica.

Maple as far as I recall, is the cheapest out of all of them, even with a student license. The developers of Maple disclose all the algorithms they use for calculations, I think you even receive the source code to all the functions when you receive a copy of Maple. Wolfram is rather "discrete" on mentioning what algorithms they use for symbolics; you'll find "some" documentation on how they do symbolics and other calculations, but no code. As far as Matlab goes, I have little knowledge about this topic.

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We use Mathematica in school. Mostly for calculus. Everybody hates it, but I don't see anything wrong with it. I haven't used Maple of Matlab, so I can't tell you about them. Mathematica seems to do just fine for the stuff we do in calculus.

graphic7
Gold Member
Chrono said:
We use Mathematica in school. Mostly for calculus. Everybody hates it, but I don't see anything wrong with it. I haven't used Maple of Matlab, so I can't tell you about them. Mathematica seems to do just fine for the stuff we do in calculus.
Indeed Chorno, but that's where Mathematica shines - symbolics, especially in Calculus I and II. Once you start getting to vectors, I think you'll begin to see Mathematica's problems

graphic7 said:
Indeed Chorno, but that's where Mathematica shines - symbolics, especially in Calculus I and II. Once you start getting to vectors, I think you'll begin to see Mathematica's problems
That's just the thing. I'm doing Calculus III now which involves vectors and our instructor doesn't use Mathematica. He doesn't even give us homework. :surprised

evert
Chrono said:
That's just the thing. I'm doing Calculus III now which involves vectors and our instructor doesn't use Mathematica. He doesn't even give us homework. :surprised
You might want to take a look at:

This calculator runs on the palm pilot, PocketPC and windows. You can develop the scripts on a desktop and transfer it to your PDA. Carrying a PDA sure beats carrying a laptop. However it is depending on your needs since it is not a powerful as Mathematica or Matlab. It is not even close to being as expensive either.

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I got Maple 9.5 (for $2.50) from my school and i'm quite impressed with it. It's a little much to take in at first though, it's like learning a programming language. Surely beats the heck out of my poor ol' TI-89 ;) deltabourne said: I got Maple 9.5 (for$2.50) from my school and i'm quite impressed with it.
How'd you get it so cheap, or does it ususally cost that much?

Chrono said:
How'd you get it so cheap, or does it ususally cost that much?

allistair said:
How? Did you ask for it or they just give it to you?

Chrono said:
How'd you get it so cheap, or does it ususally cost that much?
Depends on your school. Mines gives us all MS software free, packages like science/math programs are a couple bucks, etc.

deltabourne said:
Depends on your school. Mines gives us all MS software free, packages like science/math programs are a couple bucks, etc.
Maybe I should do some asking. All I really know is that our bookstore sells Mathematics for around \$130.

Gonzolo
Licenses are sold at different costs depending on where you work with the software (school vs college vs company). Not much actually changes from one version of the software to another (student vs professionnal). As I understand it, it is simply illegal to install a student version on a company computer.

I go to ccny, and in my ccny portal, there is a section at the side that says cunyEmall i click there, and all the software is substantially discounted... I clicked on software center, then i saw some discounted software, I clicked on more software near the top, and I see Symantec Antivirus, Symantec Endpoint Protection, and and and Maple 12!!! All for free!!! So, if you go to a cuny, check your portal, and your eMall, you may get them for free...hopefully you didn't already pay for them... eMall, not e-mail.

I can agree with enigma that Matlab is excellent for manipulating data, or dealing with any sort of matrix calculations..

From my experience Mathematica is ideal when it comes to symbolics such as differentiation and integration. I've seen a few cases where Mathematica blows Maple out of the water when one compares the types of integrals they can evaluate.

Maple and Matlab have the best graphics in my opinion. In both of them you are allowed to rotate 3D graphics and zoom in on the spot (2D) in realtime. In Mathematica things are little more complicated, which often illicits frustration. With Mathematica, in order to zoom, you must change the window that you are plotting with. By window, I'm referring to the range of data that you wish to evaluate a function(s) on. In order to change a 3D viewpoint, you must change it from a toolbox that can be found through a menu, and then replot.

As far as the best interface, I'll have to go with Maple on that one. From Maple 7 and on, I believe, you're able to right click on a function and do quite a few things with it, such as differentiate it or integrate (among other things) with respect to a variable (variables if the function contains multiple variables). This is just one example of Maple's interface superiority compared to that of Mathematica.

Maple as far as I recall, is the cheapest out of all of them, even with a student license. The developers of Maple disclose all the algorithms they use for calculations, I think you even receive the source code to all the functions when you receive a copy of Maple. Wolfram is rather "discrete" on mentioning what algorithms they use for symbolics; you'll find "some" documentation on how they do symbolics and other calculations, but no code. As far as Matlab goes, I have little knowledge about this topic.
You can see the code for each function matlab has by typing: open "functionname"

maple is what's known as a 'high level' program, as in it has already got a lot of predefined commands to it, so it will do known calculations for you incredibly quickly, such as integrals, curve sketching, solving ODEs etc.
Matlab is more powerful for specific programs because there are more programming options available, even though you'll have to start at the 'grass roots' level. but at least you know where you are going with the program you're writing.
Mathematica focuses on quality symbolic computation and features like unlimited precision arithmetic. Matlab focuses on high speed algorithms for numerical computation.
Maple is a similar product to mathematica.