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[seul-edu] Maxima, a computer algebra system

Hello everyone,

I've been looking at software for doing symbolic
manipulations for math. I was interested in
Maxima because that is one of the backends for
WIMS and I wanted to know more about it. I found
it to be very easy to use and install. It
expanded (x+y+z)^100 (yes, that's to the 100th power)
on a 90Mhz pc in about 45 seconds, and then 
turned around and factored the resulting polynomial
in about a minute and a half. We were pretty

We tried to do that with Derive, a popular 
computer algebra system (CAS), on a 450 Mhz 
pc with 128Mb of ram running Windows and it did 
expand the poly, but it ran off the screen and 
crashed the computer. Hmmm.

Now, I know that no high school math teacher
will want to have their students raise
a trinomial to the 100th power, but if
you stick to simple commands I think that
Maxima will do just fine as a standalone CAS
for a high school math program.

I put some simple commands for Maxima in
the Math Teachers Guide (MTG) for Linux along 
with some links to some other CAS software at


Click on Programming Mathematics, then Maxima.

Here's the other links for Maxima on that page:

Download Maxima from a GNU mirror

http://www.rpmfind.net has some rpms for Maxima. 
Search for the keyword "Maxima".

Maxima Manual

Specifically, I tried to give commands that

1. Do numerical calculations
2. Factor numbers and polynomials
3. Expand polynomials
4. Solve equations numerically
5. Multiply and invert matrices
  (in order to solve systems of equations)
6. Graph simple equations
7. Plot equations.

For high school calculus classes

8. Compute derivatives
9. Compute integrals

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

There are other computer algebra systems out
there and I think it would be good to have
access to standalone programs like Maxima,
Mupad, or Yacas (does Dr. Genius do those
things too?), a java based CAS like
Hartmath, and a CGI based server like WIMS.

If you know of any simple commands or examples
for any other CAS that do these things listed
above, then post them or send them to me
and I'll put them in the MTG with your credits.

Incidentally, there is another web based
math program called Netmath that also uses
Maxima. I haven't used it yet....

It's at 
and was written by William Schelter who also
wrote Maxima.

L. Prevett
Mathematics Instructor
Cochise College, Sierra Vista, AZ, US