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Exploring Advanced Math with Maxima

Article Source Linux Journal
July 20, 2009, 11:49 am

 

When I took Calculus in college, my Professor would give us substantial partial credit for test problems that we got wrong for minor arithmetic errors, and rightfully so, too. Sometimes even simple-sounding problems resulted in a full page, or more, of calculations. Simply changing a -1 to a +1 early on in a problem could be completely devastating. Avoiding simple errors like that is what Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) are all about and I've found Maxima to be an extremely powerful CAS program.

Maxima is licensed under the GPL, so it has to be good! However, Maxima is a text based program, which means it's a bit clumsy by today's standards. Fortunately, there are a few front ends which make the program much easier to use and more polished. For this article, I'm using the wxMaxima front end...

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