
Math Software
I'm taking a class called Numerical Analysis this semester, and for the projects we are required to use some sort of math software. I have access to three: Maple, Matlab, and Mathematica. Which one would you recommend and why? I've enver used neither one of those for a math class; I did do some image processing with Matlab, but thats a bit different. So far, I've heard that both matlab and maple are more user friendly than Mathematica.
Any suggestions?

I've only used Matlab so I can't give a comparison, but it is very good software. When doing programming with it it can be a bit finnicky about stupid stuff such as alignment and spacing (otherwise you get syntax errors and it doesn't turn into valid code). That's the only real complaint I've ever heard of it.

I was under the impression that if you learned enough about any of those programs you could do damn near anything with them.

I like mathematica the best but I've never tried matlab. Mathematica seems to be the most powerful

Matlab is more like a programming language. I recommend Matlab for practical use, when you need to do calculations or mathmatical simulations or programs. Matlab is not as suitable as a tool for studying math, because it has no symbolic support and it takes more effort to draw graphs (especially 3D).
To draw the surface z = x^2 + y^3 in Matlab:
Code:
interval = linspace(1,1,20);
[X,Y] = meshgrid( interval, interval);
Z = X.^2 + Y.^3;
surf(X,Y,Z);
Maple is really, really easy to use. It has symbolic support and it's really easy to draw graphs. Maple is excellent as a tool for learning math.
To draw the surface in Maple:
Code:
plot3d( x^2 + y^3 , x=1..1, y=1..1);
Mathematica also has symbolic support like Maple. Mathworld has lots ot downloads for Mathematica, which is nice. Mathematica is really advanced, but I don't think Matlab is more user friendly.

I've only used Maple and Mathematica, but I recommend Mathematica handsdown. I also took Numerical Analysis, and that's what I used. I don't know what capabilities Matlab has, but I'm sure that you can do the same sort of programming Sangdrax alludes to with Mathematica as well. It's pretty easy to use as long as you have a basic understanding of any programming language and can read the help files.

Im with Sangdrax on this one. If you want to do programming in a math environment, use Matlab for sure. Anything else and i'd use Maple for sure.
*suggestion* I took a similar course called Numerical Methods. My project ended being an OpenGL spline surface demo but anyway, the prof suggested Matlab and suggested Signal Processing is one of the more interesting choices for projects. The recommended project that year was "Graph Matchin Algorithms" (using matlab) though we had the choice to do basically anything we wanted as long as it related to numerical computing.

Derive 6 is a good program for students...

I decided that I will give both MATLAB and MAPLE a try  MAPLE I was use for the first project and MATLAB for the second and then see which one works better. Thanks a lot guys!

I agree with both Sangdrax and Perspective word for word.
Have fun in Numerical Analysis, that was by far my favorite class last year.

>>Have fun in Numerical Analysis, that was by far my favorite class last year.<<
I took that class in order to get rid of my final math requirement  I really didn't want to take differentail equations :p I've had enough "real" math! so far the course is easy, but not terribly interesting...hopefully it'll improve  the Professor seems good, so far.

Yeah, at least for me it took awhile to get going, a lot of terminology and basic stuff to get out of the way first. But once we got to designing programs to solve some of the problems it got really interesting. Hopefully yours does as well. Either way, it'll definately be better than DE's :D

sorry for the bump, but I felt there is no need of starting a new thread about the same topic.
Anywyas, I just found free software similar to matlab and maple: Octave. It is available for download here: www.octave.org Octave is a great alternative to its expensive commercial counterparts.