Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

For the discussion of math. Duh.

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What are your favorite or most often used mathematical software packages? Pick up to five.

MATLAB
15
17%
Mathematica
18
21%
Maple
13
15%
Mathcad
2
2%
Scientific Workplace/Notebook with MuPad Pro
0
No votes
MuPad Pro
0
No votes
MuPad Light (Formerly available free version)
1
1%
Maxima/XMaxima
4
5%
GNU Octave
4
5%
Scilab
1
1%
Other COMMERCIAL
3
3%
Other FREE
9
10%
I roll my own...(programming)
11
13%
No Selection (Just see poll results!)
5
6%
 
Total votes: 86

ks_physicist
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Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby ks_physicist » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:03 pm UTC

After answering the poll, maybe comment on what you use the software for. For example, I'm a physics teacher, and have a master's in physics. I learned on MATLAB, but have some experience in Mathematica, Maple, and Mathcad.

I'm now working on using free alternatives, since I can't expect my school to pop several thousand dollars for my lab on the software, when their curriculum does not specifically state "computational physics".

I'm just curious what various people use. (I did search, and saw no previous posts with the top five in them...)

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby Govalant » Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:25 pm UTC

I use Matlab and programming. I usually program in haskell, but when I get some weird syntax error that I don't feel like fixing I use C.
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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby headprogrammingczar » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:22 am UTC

I like using Euler, but only because it is free. It also does some good 3D graphs, but I am currently driving myself up and down my walls trying to graph 3D implicit functions (read Nordstrand's Weird Surface). When I do fractals, I use Ultra-fractal. I have it distributed over all my friends' computers, so when I feel like doing a big render, I steal their clock cycles over the tubes.
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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:01 am UTC

Mathematica is what I've got on my computer, and so it's what I'm most used to. There's really no reason beyond that. :-) (I think I originally bought Mathematica because its student version was cheaper than Maple or MATLAB at the place where I bought it.)
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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby llamapalooza » Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:16 am UTC

I've always enjoyed Apple's Grapher that comes with every Mac. It's got its problems, but what doesn't?

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby pi-3 orionis » Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:09 am UTC

I've only used maple, so I don't really know the pros and cons of them all. I'm pretty pleased with it, but I still have a few things to figure out about it.

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby mudge » Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:55 am UTC

[hijack]

I could probably argue that TeX/LaTeX should be included, but I don't really believe it myself; that said, as frustrating as TeXing can be, I am more than a little enamored with how it comes out. Mmmm ... so gorgeous.

[/hijack]
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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby ks_physicist » Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:48 am UTC

TeX can't actually /do/ any math, can it? It's just a publishing language.

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby mudge » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:37 am UTC

ks_physicist wrote:TeX can't actually /do/ any math, can it? It's just a publishing language.


[bullshit philosophical argument]

What does it mean to "do" math anyway? .... blah blah blah

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby dp » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:40 am UTC

ks_physicist wrote:TeX can't actually /do/ any math, can it? It's just a publishing language.

I'm fairly sure you can program in it (if you really really reallly want to) but that is its primary aim

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby Torn Apart By Dingos » Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:19 pm UTC

ks_physicist wrote:TeX can't actually /do/ any math, can it? It's just a publishing language.

TeX is Turing complete so sure it can. It however doesn't have any primitive notion of adding two numbers, so you'll have to do a lot of work by yourself.

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby mudge » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:33 pm UTC

Torn Apart By Dingos wrote:
ks_physicist wrote:TeX can't actually /do/ any math, can it? It's just a publishing language.

TeX is Turing complete so sure it can. It however doesn't have any primitive notion of adding two numbers, so you'll have to do a lot of work by yourself.


I think using TeX to write a program to do math would fall under "roll your own"
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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby TemperedMartensite » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:36 am UTC

Matlab is spectacular if you just want a quick and dirty way to get something done numerically fast without a lot of work.
Maple is amazing if you want to do something symbolically.
Win GSLIB is the only way to go for any geostatistical analysis. Also completely modifiable seeing as you are giving the source files and can modify the par files any way you like it. You can even create your own variogram fitting equations in 3 dimensions is you actually go into the code.
Lastly rolling your own - but 95% of the time, this is impractical when compared to alternatives.

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby Alpha Omicron » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:21 am UTC

mudge wrote:
Torn Apart By Dingos wrote:
ks_physicist wrote:TeX can't actually /do/ any math, can it? It's just a publishing language.

TeX is Turing complete so sure it can. It however doesn't have any primitive notion of adding two numbers, so you'll have to do a lot of work by yourself.


I think using TeX to write a program to do math would fall under WIN

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby Cuton » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:25 pm UTC

Cplex/AMPL for solving large linear/integer programs. I could use Matlab in my other classes but it's not a necessity...

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby szarka » Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:40 pm UTC

mudge wrote:I could probably argue that TeX/LaTeX should be included, but I don't really believe it myself; that said, as frustrating as TeXing can be, I am more than a little enamored with how it comes out. Mmmm ... so gorgeous.


Yeah, I wanted to vote for LaTeX. I started using it heavily this year and I still get a warm glow whenever I print out a proof...

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby niteice » Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:36 pm UTC

Derive, which I believe is the name of the CAS used in the TI-89.

Is it as full-featured as others? No.
Is it as fast as others? No.
Is it as intuitive as others? Probably not.

But I'll be damned if I can find a better system that fits in my pocket.
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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby ks_physicist » Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:51 am UTC

I've used the TI-89 system occasionally, but I got off to a bad start. I remember the first few times I tried to do an integral with it, it choked. So I tried simpler versions, still choked, couldn't figure out why.

So I pretty much quit using it for several years. Recently, a few students were asking me about it, so we did some derivatives with it, and they thought that was cool. Gave it a crack at a few integrals, and it did fine. I can't remember what it was about the older integrals that made them special...so maybe the OS upgrades I have done since it was new have upgraded the symbolic engine.

I have wanted to learn LaTeX for years, but haven't had motivation (i.e. was never required to learn it) and haven't found the right resource to learn it from. I'd like to learn how to use it just to make nice technical documents for my classes.

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby hobbesmaster » Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:41 am UTC

ks_physicist wrote:So I pretty much quit using it for several years. Recently, a few students were asking me about it, so we did some derivatives with it, and they thought that was cool. Gave it a crack at a few integrals, and it did fine. I can't remember what it was about the older integrals that made them special...so maybe the OS upgrades I have done since it was new have upgraded the symbolic engine.


Could have been low batteries - the little BATT light goes on far too late, at least on mine. You have to let it sit if you try and give it something kinda complicated. The processor in there is like a PC from the mid 80s, so don't expect it to be as responsive as whatever you use in your workstation. (I would love a calculator with whats in the iPhone!)

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby szarka » Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:59 am UTC

ks_physicist wrote:I have wanted to learn LaTeX for years, but haven't had motivation (i.e. was never required to learn it) and haven't found the right resource to learn it from. I'd like to learn how to use it just to make nice technical documents for my classes.


The Not So Short Intro to LaTeX is pretty painless. You can read through the important/easy bits in a half hour and be up and running with your first document quickly. Then go back to it to learn the other stuff (like graphics) as you need it, or grab some of the other documentation floating around all over the place.

Other than a brief exposure to raw TeX years ago, I hadn't used it before this semester. I just resolved to write all my proofs in LaTeX this semester and have picked up what I need as I go. There are still plenty of things I need to learn, but my proofs look so much prettier than my classmates'.. ;)

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby McHell » Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:26 pm UTC

ks_physicist wrote:TeX can't actually /do/ any math, can it? It's just a publishing language.

I have actually used it for calculations; not TeX per se but by way of PostScript (through \usepackage{pstricks}) --- you get it to calculate AND nicely typeset the answers and a graph. WIN!

I mostly used Mathematica (*nothing* beats FindInstance of Mathematica 5.0 and higher), but I don't have a licence anymore so I was looking around... I use it for graphs, but also for exploring relations and verifying algebraic manipulations: e.g. if you thinks something is impossible, before you prove it you use FindInstance and there! You're wrong! Instead of hours of failing.

I saw Maxima had the same nicety of Maple, that you can click on a 3d graph and move it around with the mouse as if you grab it with your hand --- in Mathematica that's frustratingly slow as you have to give the exact viewpoint: oftentimes a lot of trial-and-error before you get what you're happy with. I understand their mind in having it 100% reproduceable (but why don't you add a window saying the viewpoint and allow that viewpoint to be optionally added? Everybody wins!).

[So I installed Maxima yesterday on my Ubuntu but then it fails, it complains about LISP pipes that are broken. Thus Synaptic package manager has failed to require the correct Lisp stuff (out of a large heap) to be installed? I'll have to look at it.]

And indeed on Mac OSX, Grapher is an often-overlooked 2/3D graphing app that's really easy, practical and good-looking! Not industrial-strength, but it beats whatever you've ever done with a graphic calculator.

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Re: Favorite math software (Numerical, graphical, or CAS)

Postby ks_physicist » Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:11 pm UTC

Yes, I do recall a postscript file that is designed to produce various iterations of the branching tree fractal. Called something like treephylum.ps, it uses the printer's processor and postscript language to do all the calculations and then print out a nice graphic.


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