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February 2017, “Community Choice” Project of the Month – Maxima

For our February “Community Choice” Project of the Month, the community elected Maxima, a Computer Algebra System (CAS) written in Common Lisp.

Maxima is comparable to commercial systems like Mathematica and Maple as it is able to solve symbolic mathematical equations, be it in algebra, trigonometry, calculus, or others. It can calculate with exact integers and fractions, native floating-point and high-precision big floats.

Maxima is feature-filled and user-friendly, with an online manual, plotting commands, and numerical libraries. Users can write programs in its native programming language, and many have contributed useful packages in a variety of areas over the decades.

Maxima was previously chosen “Staff Pick” Project of the Month in November of 2015 and the Maxima team spoke about the project’s latest developments and direction. Recently we caught up with one of the developers of the project, Viktor Toth to find out how the project has been doing since then, and here’s what he had to say:

“We have had two or three maintenance releases since that date. Our goal at this point is to continue offering support for Maxima, fix bugs, maintain compatibility with as many platforms as possible, and create stable installation packages. Changes to Maxima at this point tend to be relatively minor and incremental, including, for instance, corrections and improvements to the documentation and its translations.”

Maxima continues to be widely-used with over 300,000 direct downloads annually, and also continues to receive positive feedback from users.

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5 Responses to “February 2017, “Community Choice” Project of the Month – Maxima”

  1. Mark McConnell Feb 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    Readers should know that Maxima is an offshoot of Macsyma, one of the very first computer packages for symbolic algebra. Macsyma was one of the great successes of the AI community beginning in the late 1960s and 70s. It was one of the early successes of Lisp, the highest-level and most flexible language of its day (and arguably any day).

  2. Horst Michels Feb 9, 2017 at 1:52 am #

    question; does it run on Windows? Mathematica does.

    • Ramon Tavarez Feb 13, 2017 at 8:24 am #

      Yes, it works on windows. I use it for academic and didactic purposes in the university and recommend it to my students. There are also versions available for several linux distros.

    • Ramon Tavarez Feb 13, 2017 at 8:27 am #

      Follow the link to the windows version of maxima. I work with it on windows 8.1, and peviously on windows 7, 100% functional

    • sfIma Feb 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

      Yes, it does run on Windows and there is also a free port available for android. Moreover, people should know of the existence of a free GUI called wxMaxima, which makes the most of it. Never tried Mathematica nor Maple, but I’d say Maxima is compelling. Pretty well documented and perfectly suited for algebra and calculus students.

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