Mathematics Software and Hardware I am about to enter University as a pure math major. I have taken high school mathematics.
Matt
i prefer the reverse polish notation of a hewlett packard - the 48GX was top of the line in my day.
nathan
You want one of the TI 8x series. The 92 is too big.
Will C
If you stick with math, you will probably end up using all three programs at some point in your college career, so there's really not much point to selecting just one to learn. If you want something for practice, get the cheapest one.
Martha
Sorry, you listed four programs... I've never used Maple, so my brain just sort of skipped right over it.
Martha
I would go with the HP-48 GX. It took a while to get used to (about a week for me), but after that I found it to be much easier to use.
Adam
Interesing. I'm probably old-fasioned, but how do these programs help to learn math?
Igor K.
Joel actually didn't mention the principle of "one under" in his article at all. He seemed to imply that we all needed to learn "six under". It is a farily well established principal though.
Stephen Jones
response to Igor:
Will C
I concur with Igor -
anonQAguy
Go for a HP-48 or 49. These are really the best out there. They perform symbolic computation and a lot more.
Just'in
damn -
anonQAguy
Each of the programs you named has a different focus... I've used Mathematica and Matlab - Mathematica can do virtually anything you want it to, but I think its best features are the symbolic computations (e.g. taking symbolic derivatives and antiderivatives) and its 2D/3D graphics. Matlab is much more narrowly focused on number-crunching vector/matrix computations.
Dan Maas
Use MATLAB or Octave which is a MATLAB free clone. I haven't heard good things about Maple. I haven't used Mathematica.
Victor Richter
It depends whether you're studying pure math or applied mathematics.
Julian
I would tend to agree with a lot of the previous posters.
tapiwa
I have a mathematics degree with honours (Pure) from Trinity university in Dublin (1982 -that's how OLD I am), most of our pure lecturers loathed calculators, although I wasn't there at the time, one of them snatched one out of a students hand who dared to use it in a first year calculus tute and hurled it against the wall, smashing it into pieces, apparently he was made to buy a new one. We also did a lot of numerical analysis for which we used fortran with punched cards. My advice is wait until you start your uni and see what other people are using and what the lecturers recommend. You may find that you need nothing more complex than a cheap casio $20 scientific calculator.
Alberto
S'funny, cuz I don't ever remember needing a calculator for any of the math classes I took at University. I don't even remember seeing numbers in my math classes.
Danil
"Modern-day phycho-babble education theorist 'airheads' (cousins to the same dangerous idiots that think 'time-out' is the proper way to handle a screaming 3-year old) seem to think..."
Anonymous
For college math, forget all the equipment. All you need is a notebook and pencil and an attention span.
Bella
"I suppose anonQAguy thinks you should beat the hell out
anonQAguy
I've used all four: Maple learning calculus & D.E. in college; Mathematica & Matlab for graduate thesis work; Mathcad at work.
David Fischer
What about the ascii incarnation of APL called j?
Karel
Most schools introduce one of these programs in Linear Algebra. Check which one your school uses in that class, and get that one. Typically the bookstore will carry it as well, making it that much easier to get the academic version.
Phil Aaronson
Matt,
Moose
hmm, here's an odd perspective. I graduated from hs in 98. I went to college for three semesters, and, due to self discipline and study habbit issues, pretty much forced myself out of the university. I enlisted in the Army for four years, and am now out and in the process of preparing to go back to school (phys maj, cs and math minors). I've had the horrible experience of discovering that four years of disuse have really robbed me of nearly all the math I ever knew. So I've gotten myself a nice pre calc book, and am rebuilding my math skills from the ground up. I've just gotten my hands on a ti-89 (got it for cheep on clearance) and am in love with it. One key problem with many text books, when used as I am now using mine, is that they provide answers only for certain problems, the odd ones in this case. At the lower levels of math which I am studying now, this ti 89 is proving to be increadibly usefull for checking the answers I get to the even numbered problems. It is also proving useful for picking problems apart step by step (I think there is an automated way to do this, but for now I'm doing it manually by punching in each step). Bottom line is that the symbolic methods used by this thing is great for learning the basic stuff. BIG DISCLAIMER: This is working for me because I don't have homework assignments due, studying on my own as I am. This has the great potential, as others have pointed out, to become a horrible crutch. This is where self discipline comes into play. But that is all on the individual. I'm a long time ti-86 jocky myself, and, even though I've only had the 89 a short while, I'm in love with it. I'm looking forward to playing with the programming functions on it in the future.
Paul Tyler Thompson
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