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Math Linux Technology

Ask Slashdot: Replacing a TI-84 With Software On a Linux Box? 254

yanom writes "I'm currently a high school student using my TI-84 for mathematics courses. It has all the functionality I need (except CAS), but saying that the hardware is dated is putting it nicely. Waiting 4-5 seconds for a simple function to be graphed on its 96x64 screen just makes me want to hurl it at the wall. Recently, I've begun to notice the absurdity of doing my math homework on a 70's era microchip when I have an i7 machine with Linux within arm's reach. I've begun looking for software packages that could potentially replace the graphing calculator's functionality, including Xcas and Maxima, but both lack what I consider basic calculator functionality — xcas can't create a table of values for a function, and maxima can't use degrees, only radians. So, does anyone know of a good software package to replace my graphing calculator (and maybe provide CAS to boot)?"
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Ask Slashdot: Replacing a TI-84 With Software On a Linux Box?

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  • by Vireo ( 190514 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @05:23PM (#42293557)

    I concur: the Python shell is a very very powerful calculator given that you can define functions in the interpreter. There are many graphics packages for Python; Matplotlib is perhaps the most complete albeit not the symplest. As suggested above, installing Python with the IPython shell, NumPy and SciPy, enables the "PyLab" IPython mode, which is similar to what Matlab would offer in terms of graphics and computation integration.

    Simpler to install and learn is perhaps Octave (with plots using GnuPlot), which would behave similarly. Although for the long term, I'd say learning the Python shell is more useful than learning Octave.

  • Re:Sorry About That (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @05:53PM (#42294277) Homepage Journal
    When they added the protocol://-hiding code to Firefox, they screwed up slightly; before the protocol handler is determined when visiting a URL, copying the URL out of the field will not include the protocol handler under certain conditions. I'm having trouble reproducing it at the moment, but it's stung me exactly like that before.
  • by adam.voss ( 1854938 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:52PM (#42295491)
    Rather than running Sage in terminal, look at Sage Notebook [sagenb.org]. It is Sage with a web-based GUI. I have not played with it since they went to the new versions that include the OpenID auth; however, the math department at my alma mater host s server and had students use it for class as a replacement for Mathematica in a number of courses. I found it worked well for many things. You could either run a local copy or use one of the freely accessible online servers.
  • by rmcd ( 53236 ) * on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:59PM (#42295607)

    What advanced stats do you have in mind that can be done easily in Matlab but not in R? And I think your assessment of the relative acceptance of the two is out of date. R awareness is growing fast.

    The choice really depends on what you are doing. Matlab is industrial strength engineering software. R is a a powerful statistics oriented programming language. In my experience, R's statistical capabilities are a strength relative to Matlab. Data handling (such as reading a csv file without barfing) is much easier in R than in Matlab. Moreover, Matlab is quite expensive. This is fine in a professional setting, but a showstopper if you're a small operation. The poster can get a student license, but why not use Octave or R? The two languages are actually similar in many respects, see David Heibeler's page [umaine.edu].

    I know researchers who have ditched Matlab in favor of R/C++. It really depends on what you're doing.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.