Anyone here use Mathematica?

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
447
I'm no mathematician but have recently started to refresh my knowledge of the subject including calculus and differential equations, I've forgotten a lot since moving from electronics into software but it's coming back.

I saw that Mathematica for home/hobby is only about 300 bucks so wanted to ask if anyone here uses this product, what they use it for and do they think it would be helpful for me to get a copy of this?
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
28,227
Mathematica is for solving mathematical equations, not so much for learning math.
Unless you have some complex math equations you need to solve, I don't see that it would be worth the money for you.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
742
I'm no mathematician but have recently started to refresh my knowledge of the subject including calculus and differential equations, I've forgotten a lot since moving from electronics into software but it's coming back.

I saw that Mathematica for home/hobby is only about 300 bucks so wanted to ask if anyone here uses this product, what they use it for and do they think it would be helpful for me to get a copy of this?
No, mathematica is useful for people who know what they are doing to solve problems using the tool. I would look into "Calculator ∞". You can take a photo of an equation with your camera and it will show you step by step how to solve it. It is $9.99 on the Apple store.
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
3,770
Mathematica is an amazing piece of software but at $300 it's a lot to pay if you don't use it constantly.

You might consider SageMath which is a F/OSS alternative targeting Mathematica and some other packages. It also can be used through CoCalc which allows online access (link on SageMath homepage).

SageMath can be programmed in Python which is a good thing for a lot of folks.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,010
My experience was I was allowed to buy Mathmatica but ended up using Excel for everyday tasks. Only when trying to solve complex sets of equations or make very pretty plots for papers and presentations did I need Mathmatica.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
447
Useful feedback guys, much appreciated, I guess if I did buy this it would be just an expensive toy, perhaps handy for this or that specific problem but not something I'd find helpful in an educational sense, it would end up just being a distraction.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,621
One of the things I like about Microsoft Mathematics is it's not online. No having to go to its website to load with all the inherent lag. Runs right on my computer, nice step by step solver if wanted, designed to interface with Excel if wanted. Plus it's free!
 

slackguy

Joined Feb 11, 2016
76
Those other apps, are free, but they are still behind Mathematica released in 1998. Had you bought mm then and still have it - it'd still laps around the free ones. There are 20 years of math upgrades in mm since then.

The $350 gives you LIFETIME use. However consider "cancel culture" in your purchase. You may own the right to use THAT VERSION always - but if they cancel culture the UBUNTU libs (which is frequently) then your lifetime purchase is toast. Complaint they've ruined your assets they are going to just ban your phone number.

Mathematica can solve Differential Equations and some other heavy hitters.

For electronics? Your probably going to be seeking electrical simulators. Mathematica can do it but isn't "set up" to do it. Mathematica's electrical simulator requires allot of work to use - you get out only what you put in per say.

If you LIKE math I would advise Mathematica - it's simply awesome and no competitor comes even close to touching it. Although - there are some niche specialty apps which do minor things better? Nothing covers so much of math so well.

If you don't - then use a free one.
 

ZCochran98

Joined Jul 24, 2018
181
no competitor comes even close to touching it
Maplesoft is pretty comparable, and generally, I found, is significantly easier to use (syntax is much easier to figure out, plus Maple has easier "2D math" features - a kind of WYSIWYG of math). Also, if I'm not mistaken (which, in this case, I could be), Mathematica requires an internet connection, while Maple doesn't. Maple also is a permanent license.
Here's a comparison of the two (obviously biased, because it's from a product brochure), if you care: https://www.maplesoft.com/products/maple/compare/HowMapleComparestoMathematica.pdf

But like everyone else has said (and I'm aware I'm a bit late to the party here....) use a free tool if you are not planning on doing some intense calculations or whatnot.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,010
I used it for several years and it could do anything I cared to dedicate enough energy to in order to figure out how to make it happen. There is a steep learning curve but I found it very helpful since it could do more "out of the box" compared to other tools at my disposal.

These days I don't publish papers that rely on nice looking graphics and use solutions to hairy problems, so Excel with the occasion help of Wolfram Alpha is enough for me.
 
HelpfulRetired here,

I have done my homework over the years.

As a Science teacher and then I got interested in Computers (1986).

There are horses for courses - but Mathemtica has always been a tool that solves more problems within its Solution space.
MathLab is great for real time signalling - it is used when you need to automate something in real time.
However for finding a solution to a complicated maths problem - Mathematica has a larger solution space.

However Wolfram has more than one string in its repertoire .
Student products like Wolfram Alpha and its ability to “show steps” - Very much appreciated by many students.
They have Modelling or dedicated area devoted to say :
“How many Rotors should you have at High Altitude lifting” or
Type 1 “Sugar” Diabeties inside the various tissues inside the body or
AI - neural network or
Cryptography and Maths.
Elements and Chemistry
Photography
Astronomy - in terms of Orbits and general information
Curated Data - This is data that has been collected and that should be accurate - and annotate against a Map
Or use the Photos and the GPS co-ordinates to study something like Ancient Egypt.

Mathematics is such a broad area that you can easily spend a lifetime - so I am spending some time while retired
getting to research some of the things I could not take the time to learn due to work commitments

I want to discover a solution to computing the Volume of an Asymmetric Slice from a Sphere.
A maths problem I first saw in the Sydney Morning Herald way back in the 1970 era.
Compute the Volume inside a Sphere and Inside a square based Pyramid cannot be solved as far as I can tell unless you solve the Asymmetric slice problem. Sphere is 2 units high ie. 1 unit in diameter and the Pyramid is 2 units high and has 4 sides of 2 units.
The tip of the Pyramid just touches the top of the Sphere and the bottom of the Sphere just touched the the middle of the base of the Pyramid.

Currently going over some of the maths involved and I have found that Wolfram has a fairly wide area of documentation.
Way too broad for someone with my skill set ! However the aim is to understand and learn new things so that my mind stays sharp.

There are a lot of ready made animations inside the Computing Data Format (CDF) area - donated by a lot of smart people.
One person I know has the benefit of a small iMac that I gave them. I have owned a lot of machines over the years.
The demonstration CDF I picked for them was a real eye opener.

So there are a few good mathematical systems out there - and some of them are free - for gaining that extra intuition about the subject I cannot and never will fully understand - Mathematica is the one tool everyone should have.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,010
HelpfulRetired here,

(Most of the text removed for brevity)

- Mathematica is the one tool everyone should have.
And more would have it but it is priced as a tool for professionals. At $183/year for the home and hobby version (the least expensive offer available at the time of this writing) I certainly can't justify it for the little use it would get. Still, applaud them for giving an approximately 90% discount from the "Standard Desktop + Cloud" package, at least recognizing that some people with lesser needs (in terms of volume) have a use for it. At times, I am grateful for Alpha.
 
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