Math software - was Re: Rich kids are into COBOL

Guy Sotomayor ggs at
Sun Mar 8 11:43:29 CDT 2015

On 3/7/15 9:05 PM, Toby Thain wrote:
> On 06/03/15 9:40 AM, Mouse wrote:
>>>>> one other, which you may or may not classify as a ¿language¿, is
>>>>> Mathematica.
>>>> I don't know enough about it to offer an opinion [...]
>>> I've been using Mathematica for years.  [...]  I've also used MatLab
>>> which also falls somewhat into that category.  MatLab is is really
>>> optimized around vectors and arrays.
>> That might be more similar to APL, then.
>> This has been rattling around in my mind for a little while now and I
>> think one reason I didn't think of things like Mathematica or Matlab is
>> that they're single-implementation.  ...
> It certainly existed on SPARC, though... Mathematica was very widely 
> ported because of the era it was born in - it supported just about 
> every serious platform of the 1980s - I remember seeing price lists 
> with maybe 50 different ports, everything from SPARC to Mac to Cray 
> (at the time I used it on Mac 68K and I have a license for NeXT).
> Wolfram's pathologically proprietorial mentality doesn't support the 
> spirit of openness that progress and science require; a tragedy when 
> so many have sleepwalked into relying on his black-box tools ...
While it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of Mathmatica, 
something in the same vein is Maxima (a port of the DOE version of 
Macsyma).  Both are symbolic processing.  I use Maxima in situations 
where I don't have a Mathmatica license readily available.  There are 
several books on Macsyma also available.

Maxima is open source and is easily portable.  The distribution does 
have a lisp included (can't remember if it's binary or source) but that 
lisp is also readily available as I recall but I would think that any 
common lisp implementation would work.  It also integrates (sorry for 
the pun) with gnuplot for some pretty spectacular graphing.  There's 
also a graphical front end (so you can use the various TeX fonts to 
integrals and other math input/output looks good on the screen).

TTFN - Guy

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