MathWorks is giving away free licenses for the beta version of MATLAB for students using Intel-based Macs. For those who don’t know, MATLAB is a computer algebra system, one of the big four along with Mathematica, Maple, and MathCAD. MATLAB tends to be fawned over highly favored by engineers for some reason.

Again: The software being given away works only on Intel Macs, and the MathWorks folks are pretty serious about it being available only to students, unfortunately (for me). Erica at TUAW notes: “The beta does not include a stipend for psychotherapy bills induced by the use of the software.”

Technorati Tags: Computer algebra system, Ed tech, Maple, Math, MATLAB, Technology

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Do you know how Maxima (descended from Macsyma) compares to the big four? It might be an option for people who can’t pay the big bucks for a computer algebra system.

Maxima/Macsyma is largely off the radar screen for most people. It’s free (GPL) but my impression from using the Linux version is that it’s clunky and nonintuitive, kind of like a circa-1995 version of Mathematica. The freeness of the software is sort of offset by the hassle of using it. But then again, it’s hard to argue with something that’s free, and if I were a student — or not having my math software funded by my job — I’d certainly try it out and see if I could live with it.

I should have mentioned Derive too, although I don’t think it’s as prevalent as the other four.

The beta is no longer available.

i am doing m.tech and i need matlab software.

@yoav @prabhakar: Check the date out on the post. It was from November 2006. Probably the beta has expired by now.