free Mathematica substitute?

Bob Kimmel rkimmel at
Tue Aug 27 19:22:36 PDT 2002

> I'm taking a Numerical Analysis class, and my professor said that
> we can use
> whatever program we want to do the projects. He said that Mathematica and
> Matlab are the more popular choices, but he said that he has had students
> manage to do the projects with Excel.
> I would rather avoid the cost of Mathematica (even the student
> price) if I
> can. I'm used to programming C/C++/Java/etc., so I don't mind a
> program that
> requires the user to understand programming concepts. I just need
> something
> that will get me through both semesters of Numerical Analysis.
> I'd also like
> it to be able to produce some kind of graphs when applicable
> (I've found that
> these help me understand what's really going on in math).
> Does anyone have experience with such a program? I could search
> freshmeat to
> get a list, but I want to know how good the various programs really are.
> Thanks,
> Tom Panning
> tpanning at

I think we're probably pushing the envelope on what constitutes BLFS
but I use both Matlab and Mathematica very heavily.  They really aren't that
similar, and I would say there aren't that many things that they are both
good at.  Mathematica is essentially symbolic, Matlab is more a number

In any event, possible substitutes are Gauss and MAPLE.  I don't use either
and I'm not sure if they are freeware, I just know a lot of people use them.


Bob Kimmel
Bendheim Center for Finance
Department of Economics
Princeton University
rkimmel at

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