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What's the best Mathematics software.

  1. Mar 12, 2004 #1


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    Hi, just a quick question for anyone who has had the opportunity to use some of the available Mathematics assist software such as Maple etc.

    Is there any one package that is generally recognized as the best in this area. I've had a bit of a poke around with Maple and it seems very good. How does it compare with other available titles. I've heard of Mathematica but not had the opportunity to use it as yet. I'd like to know what people think regarding how do they compare in terms of power and also ease of use.

    Thanks. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2004 #2
    I've had experience with Mathlab, Mathcad, Maple and Mathematica. I've found Mathematica to be the best, both in ease of use and in raw power/possibilites.
  4. Mar 13, 2004 #3


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    Thanks for the info Dimitri. I was looking to get the student edition (for PC) of either Maple or Mathematica.

    From what I've seen the student edition of Maple is not really too badly crippled as compared to the full version. Do you have any info on the extent to which the student version of Mathematica is crippled wrt the full version?

  5. Mar 13, 2004 #4
    Does anyone have an opinion on which software would be the best to learn? That is to say, which is most widely used in industy? Which software would the best to know when graduating school and looking to work as an EE? We use Matlab in my school, and from what I have read it seems to be used in the real world. Any input on this?
  6. Mar 16, 2004 #5
    I worked on both Mapple and Mathematica. I found Mathematica is the best tool for mathematics. Ypu can get excellent help from the web as well.
  7. Mar 17, 2004 #6
    I would guess matlab is more common because it concentrates on doing
    operations to matrices, And programs written 20 years ago are still good. The ability of maple/mathematica to integrate sin(x) would be less common. Maybe google search .matlab electrical engineering.
    and . mathematica electrical engineering. and see what happens.
  8. Mar 17, 2004 #7


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    I've used Matlab for a long time and really like it. But it is more like a powerful calculator than a math/algebra program as per Maple or Mathematica.

    Now I know that there is a "Symbolic Tool Box" available for Matlab that actually incorperates the Maple Kernel and thereby gives access to many symbolic (algebraic) operations but I dont have that ToolBox.

    So for me Matlab is nothing more than a calculator on steriods. :) That's why I want to get the student edition of either Maple or Mathematica, so my computer can help me with algrebraic and symbolic mathematical operations as opposed to purely numerical operations.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2004
  9. Mar 20, 2004 #8
    oh , anyone knows where i can get those software?

  10. Mar 20, 2004 #9
    A store was always a popular one.

    Alternatively, your school or work might hold a license for the software that allows you to use it as well.

    My copy of Mathematically originally came from my mom's work, although the license belongs to John Hopkins University.

    Also, I'm a little biased toward Mathematica since it's the one I know how to use best, although I've also used MathCAD, but I haven't managed to find anything Mathematica couldn't do. A few times I thought I did, but it was actually just me not being smart enough to interpret the output correctly or not smart enough to figure out what to input.

  11. Mar 21, 2004 #10
    i got mathmatica 3.0 now is that good?
  12. Mar 21, 2004 #11
    The one I have is Mathematica 5.0. Of course, I just got it so can't critique it yet.
  13. Mar 21, 2004 #12
    Free options

    Not to confuse the issue, but you might also want to look into Maxima . It may not be as powerful as Mathematica, but it's completely free and might be powerfull enough, depending on what you're doing. It can also be used with Texmacs, which provides a really nice front-end.

    I've also heard good things about Octave, although I haven't used it myself. It also seems to be intended to solve a different class of problem.
  14. Mar 21, 2008 #13

    Mathematica tells the user very little about their algorithms and how they work, no matter how much you pay. With maple's std edition, they give you great documentation on how their algorithms work, you can get the source code if you pay enough.
  15. Mar 21, 2008 #14
    Mathematica is probably where you want to start. It's highly user friendly and has one the best help/tutorial menus out there.

    The only thing I don't like about it is that I can't figure out how to convert plotted data into a text format (for example ASCII) so that I can export it into Igor Pro or Origin. For this reason, I use MATLAB to create plots where I need to save the data in text format.

    If anyone knows how to do this, please divulge.
  16. Mar 22, 2008 #15
    Mathematica is the most powerful general technical computing software, but it has a very steep learning curve. The student version is hardly crippled at all, except that printouts will include the footer "Made by Mathematica for Students." Besides that, I remember that with past versions there was a limit on very large matrices for the student version, but even this may no longer be the case.

    Mathematica version 6.0 (released in summer 2007) is also a very major upgrade, so people having experience with prior versions should try v6.0 to give a proper review of Mathematica.

    The only drawback to Mathematica is the amount of hassle you have to go through to register it. For this reason I often use free software like Maxima (decent for basic symbolics) and Octave (a good matlab clone). But next to Mathematica they all seem like souped-up calculators.

    I'm think I could help you figure out how to do this, but I'm not sure exactly what the goal is. You say you have "plotted data" and you want to turn it into a "text format." Does that mean you plotted a symbolic function but you want to export the plot points as pairs of numbers? Or does it mean that you want to turn the graphic itself into plain text i.e. code for a vector graphics format like EPS or SVG? Or something else?

    Out of curiosity why do you care what methods your software uses internally? Mathematica has great documentation about how to use these methods, but you are correct that they do not supply source code for the methods themselves. If need be for research transparency purposes one can always specify a particular method, but since this is usually inferior to letting Mathematica choose one automatically it seems to me more like an after thought (that is, after the results are found one goes back and tries to recreate them using a more crude algorithm suitable for citing in a paper).
  17. Mar 23, 2008 #16
    You hit the nail on the head!

    Although not sure that a human readable form would be more crude than an unknown algorithm.
  18. Mar 23, 2008 #17
    Instead of "more crude" I should have said "worse from a numerical analysis point of view."

    If the proprietary algorithms at Wolfram Research were not superior from the standpoint of efficiency, accuracy, and precision then why wouldn't they use public algorithms? (in some cases they do)
  19. Mar 24, 2008 #18
    Let's say I plot Sin[x]. How would I export the plotted points as pairs of numbers? (In a text format.)
  20. Mar 24, 2008 #19
    I don't need a math software. I do proofs and nothing else.
  21. Mar 24, 2008 #20
    If you just want pairs of points, just export a table, ie.,
    Code (Text):

    myData =  Table[{a, Sin[a]}, {a, -3, 3, 0.1}]
    Export["myData.txt", myData]
    You don't need to generate a graph to do that. ;) There are more options for formatting the data in the help files.
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