[Tutor] math question [off-topic: Macsyma/Maxima]

Danny Yoo dyoo at hkn.eecs.berkeley.edu
Sat Apr 24 03:19:45 EDT 2004

> There are some specialized systems that allow computers to do symbolic
> algebra.  Mathematica is one of these:
>    http://www.wolfram.com/
> and there's a Python library that can interface with Mathematica called
>     http://py-ml.sourceforge.net/
> Mathematica isn't free, unfortunately.

Hi Chris,

[my post isn't really Python related; my apologies!]

I just found that there is another symbolic algebra system that is freely
available.  The program is called Maxima:


and is actually an offshoot of one of the original symbolic algebra
systems (Macsyma)  Here's an example of what it does:

(C1) sqrt(2) * 5 * sqrt(8);
(D1)                                  20

[a few commands later]

(C6) factor(x**5 + x**2 + x);
(D6)                            x (x  + x + 1)
(C7) 5/2 + 3/2;
(D7)                                   4

Cool!  It has algebraic capabilities that are very sophisticated.  Try it
out;  I think you'll have fun with the program.

Python itself does not implement such a computer-algebra system.  As
others on the list have mentioned, Python provides the tools for doing
arithmetic, but anything that's in the realm of mathematical reasoning is
stuff that we'll probably have to develop on our own.

It's technically feasible to write some Python module that talks to
Maxima, and someone appears to already have started this:


Good luck to you!

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