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Mathematica at BC

11/09/11

Mathematica is a computational software program used in scientific, engineering, and mathematical disciplines and other areas of technical computing. It was conceived about twenty-five years ago by Stephen Wolfram of Wolfram Research (http://www.wolfram.com/ ). The name "Mathematica" was suggested to Stephen Wolfram by Steve Jobs.

Mathematica started as a symbolic programming tool, and over the years, it expanded to a computing system able to cover a wide range of applications. Mathematica is used at institutions of higher education around the world, with hundreds of courses based on it.

Boston College has a site license, making this software available to the BC community.  It is also available through a web interface at apps.bc.edu.

Mathematica is used by students, faculty, and staff in various departments, including Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, and Finance.  The system provides a versatile and easy-to-learn platform. It can be used for a wide range of tasks and projects from learning Calculus to solving Physics, Economics, and Finance problems, to research projects, and helping to develop scientific papers.

For more information:

A quick tour of Mathematica:

http://www.wolfram.com/mathematica/

Extensive mathematics resource:

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/

Collection of interactive visualizations:

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/

Comments from Students

Lisa Piccirillo, undergraduate student, Mathematics Department:

"This summer, I received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship to study a topological problem. The computation is not just large, it involves organizing information in geometric forms and working with numerous algorithms and concepts from linear algebra, topology, and graph theory.  I found Mathematica language instinctive and smooth, and I was able to write routines which executed complex mathematical algorithms."

Justin Butler, PhD student, Physics Department:

"As a doctoral student in Physics, Mathematica has been an invaluable tool in my research involving quantum transport in opto-electronic device simulation. Having a program that can quickly and accurately calculate eigenvalues and complex integrals is very useful. Additionally, Mathematica's ease of use, makes it particularly attractive as a tool in computational research."