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Math Help - Wolfram's Mathematica

  1. #1
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    Wolfram's Mathematica

    I'm soliciting thoughts on this program. This is where I'm coming from (for now): I am self-teaching myself math. I've always been good at math (according to my grades), but never went beyond Precalc. I am now reviewing my precalc book, page by page, exercise by exercise, skipping nothing. By the end of the year, I should be starting Calculus. If I have to take a course to get the benefit of an instructor, I will, but I don't think I'll need to. As I go along, and being aware of calculators (like the TI-89, which I have), and math programs (like Mathematica), it seems that justification for *solving* a problem by hand boils down to "I should know how the solution is arrived at, that way the answer won't just seem like a magic trick". I can deal with that, but at some point in time I'm pretty sure that I will simply no longer want to work out the answers. Recognizing problems and understanding the relationships of the variables and quantities such that I can *define* the problem is what will give me satisfaction. And I'll be more than happy to let a program figure out the solutions. Any thoughts on Mathematica?
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  2. #2
    Eater of Worlds
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    I have never used Mathematica, but understand it is outstanding.

    I have Maple 10 on my personal computer. It is wonderful.
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  3. #3
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    Galactus,

    After doing some internet research, it seems that Mathematica and Maple 10 are comparable in strength, with Mathcad being a sort of intermediate, falling between programs like Scientific Notebook and the high end programs. There's a reseller on Ebay selling download versions of Mathematica at a deep discount, so I decided to purchase it. I am probably at least a year away before doing anything that would require more power than what a TI-89 provides, but I couldn't pass up a commerical license at $599 (which normally goes for $1880). Maple 10 is even more expensive than Mathematica (by about a hundred dollars). Are you a hobbyist, or do you use it for work?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiritualfields
    Galactus,

    After doing some internet research, it seems that Mathematica and Maple 10 are comparable in strength, with Mathcad being a sort of intermediate, falling between programs like Scientific Notebook and the high end programs. There's a reseller on Ebay selling download versions of Mathematica at a deep discount, so I decided to purchase it. I am probably at least a year away before doing anything that would require more power than what a TI-89 provides, but I couldn't pass up a commerical license at $599 (which normally goes for $1880). Maple 10 is even more expensive than Mathematica (by about a hundred dollars). Are you a hobbyist, or do you use it for work?
    You should also investigate the other alternatives.

    The main other commercial product is MuPad, which recognises that there
    are other user out there other than commercial and educational. They appear
    to have a individual private licence at ca. 400 euro.

    The main free product is Maxima
    which is a mature product with a history going back 30 years to the Macsyma
    project at MIT. This is well worth a look.

    Another free product is xcas which is also worth a look.

    RonL
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  5. #5
    Eater of Worlds
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiritualfields
    Galactus,

    After doing some internet research, it seems that Mathematica and Maple 10 are comparable in strength, with Mathcad being a sort of intermediate, falling between programs like Scientific Notebook and the high end programs. There's a reseller on Ebay selling download versions of Mathematica at a deep discount, so I decided to purchase it. I am probably at least a year away before doing anything that would require more power than what a TI-89 provides, but I couldn't pass up a commerical license at $599 (which normally goes for $1880). Maple 10 is even more expensive than Mathematica (by about a hundred dollars). Are you a hobbyist, or do you use it for work?
    With Maple, more of a hobbyist. I do not believe you need to lay out such a large amount for Maple. The student version runs around $130(at least, that's what it was a few years ago when I purchased it), which should be more than adequate for your needs. One of my former math professors told me that the high-priced 'teachers version' isn't worth the extra money.

    Also, if you want a nice calculator, think about a TI's Voyage 200. It's the granddaddy of calculators.

    As you can see, there are many options for you to consider.
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  6. #6
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    Mathematica SCAM ALERT

    Since I originally brought this thread up, and since I mentioned that there is a reseller on Ebay selling commercial licenses of Mathematica at a deep discount, I thought that I better follow up with this warning.

    I got took.

    The seller (tinam01) is a scam artist. Unfortunately, I fell for this and chalked up $599.00. The license number I got was one already owned by a guy from Queensland, and the download page I was sent to was only a download FAQ page. I have spent about an hour on the phone with Wolfram this morning, and have forwarded to them all correspondence I had with the seller. Their legal department is now on it. And I have contacted Ebay about this also.

    Do not fall for this scam!
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  7. #7
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    I feel sorry for ya spiritualfields.
    Those kind of people just frustrate me
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  8. #8
    Eater of Worlds
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    It's a shame. There are a lot of scumbags out there. I purchased a brand-new Maple 9.5 from a reputable dealer on eBay about a year and a half ago. It was only about $130.

    Of the many dealings I have transacted on eBay I had a run-in with a puke only once. Fortunately, eBay refunded my listing fees and banned the offender from doing any more business.
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  9. #9
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    I got a copy of Mathematica through my university math department a while ago for a great subsidized academic price (somewhere around US$100~150). I love working with it. For you, it will definitely satisfy all of your precalc and calc needs.
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  10. #10
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    The problem is that I'm not a student, so if I want one of the high end programs I'll have to shell out some bucks. I'll just stick with my TI-89 for now and keep my eyes open for legitimate good deals. I think that crunch time will be when I start doing matrices. I suspect that the TI might not do that so conveniently or prettily as a good program with editing features would.
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