Happy back-to-school, everyone! I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the academic year. One of the more interesting things from my school year thus far is learning to use Gambit in my game theory class. Gambit is an open-source program that lets you set up decision trees for multiplayer games and then solve them. Since I have started using it, I have been thinking more about different kinds of mathematical software. The program I am most familiar with is Mathematica—my undergrad math department emphasized Mathematica literacy as well as the ability to solve problems by hand. We were expected to start with a basic understanding of computational and graphical commands in beginning calculus and gradually work our way up to building more complex functions from built-in commands and control structures. The most recent version I’ve worked with is Mathematica 8, so I was wondering if anyone has had a chance to try out the recent upgrade and had thoughts on how it compares to previous versions.
I was also wondering what kinds of math software people prefer and why. I know Maple is pretty popular, and one of the cool things about Sage is that it’s open-source and free. A lot of stats people really like R, and I hear that the newest version of SAS has a pretty different interface. If you have any particular favorite programs, I would love to hear your thoughts!