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]]>Mathematica, Matlab, Maple, Mathcad: Why would I want to use one of those?

There are at least 2 reasons you should know how to use one of more of these tools:

• It will allow you to solve equations you can’t easily solve otherwise, including complicated derivatives and integrals (and PDEs of course)

• It will allow you to learn more Mathematics without the drudgery of doing everything longhand, and mathematics, after all, may be the only truth in the worldof the input can be cryptic and takes a while to learn. As with most everything else in life, you work from examples and only learn the parts you need (by trial and error) for the task at hand.

Methods

I’m going to focus on Mathematica here because I wanted to learn it; I had previous experience with all of the others, though not in solving PDEs. I also thought it would be the best for this purpose. Now I see that it appears to be rather limited in what it can do in the PDE realm. You are welcome and encouraged to use any of the programs mentioned above that will solve the PDEs in this assignment.

Preliminaries

Execute commands in Mathematica by holding down ‘shift’ and pressing enter while on the line you wish to execute. For your sanity, I encourage you to begin every notebook with Remove[“Global`*”].

Plotting

The syntax of the ‘plot’ statement is Plot[what to plot, {variable, low end of range, high end of range}].

Plotting functions of 1 and 2 variables is easy:

Bad things

The syntax

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