Mathematical Software

The following mathematical packages provide support for numerical and/or symbolic calculations, graphical displays, and programming for mathematical applications:

  • Maple
  • Mathematica
  • Maple

Maple seems not to be installed on fisher yet, but it is available on the old utstat computer.
Maple is most adept at symbolic mathematics, but it also supports numerical calculations to arbitrary precision, and graphical displays. You can also write programs in the Maple programming language.

There are two ways to run Maple. The maple command will start a Maple session that runs in the window where you start it, or on an ordinary terminal. Plotting is done with low-quality character graphics.

The xmaple command starts up a Maple window in which you can see your mathematical expressions in nice form, get good-quality plots, and edit Maple programs in multiple windows within the Maple window.

Maple uses the common line editing commands, that can save on typing.

There are several Maple books in the U of T library. There is also on-line documentation, which you get to with the “help” command. For example,


will give you some introductory information. Note that you end a command in Maple by typing “;” (followed by Return). You type “quit” to exit Maple.
There is a Maple web site with up-to-date information.



It seems that we don’t have Mathematica at the moment.
Mathematica is another package that supports symbolic and numerical mathematics, graphics, and so forth.

Typing “mathematica” starts up an X-windows interface in a new window. You can type expressions in this window, terminating them with Shift/Return or Enter, and see the answers in the same window (note that typing a plain Return does not terminate the expression). Use the “Help” menu to get further documentation.

Typing “math” starts up a low-level interface to Mathematica in the window you are using. You can then type expressions terminated by Return, and see the answers. Type Control/D to get out. You can also use the math command to run Mathematica non-interactively. The command

math < infile > outfile

will execute the Mathematica commands in infile and put the results in outfile. To cause the commands from infile to be echoed to outfile, make the first line of infile be

AppendTo[$Echo, “stdout”]

There are several books on Mathematica in the U of T bookstore.

There is a Mathematica web site with up-to-date information.


I’m not sure of the current status of matlab on fisher.
MATLAB supports numerical mathematics, and is especially good with matrices. You can also write programs in MATLAB.

Type “matlab” to start MATLAB. It will operate in the window where you start it, but will also create additional windows for graphics and other displays, as necessary. You can run MATLAB on an ordinary terminal, but you’ll be able to see the graphics only from an X-terminal. To exit MATLAB, type “quit”.

MATLAB uses the common line editing commands, that can save on typing. Type “help cedit” in MATLAB for more details.

There are several books on MATLAB in the U of T bookstore. You can get to the on-line documentation by typing “help” in MATLAB. You can also get to MATLAB documentation by running the “matlabdoc” program. If you are on utstat, the following link will also get you directly to the Matlab documentation.
We are now running MATLAB 5.3. There are a few slight language changes from earlier versions, but they should make little difference to most people.

We have two “toolboxes” for MATLAB: The statistics tool box, and the symbolic mathematics toolbox. Type help stats and help sym for more information.

If you find that MATLAB output scrolls off your window before you can read it, try typing the command more on first.

There is a Matlab web site with up-to-date information.

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