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Software Support

Maple Guides and Information

Maple is a powerful symbolic and numeric computation program which incorporates a large library of mathematical functions — over 2,000 in all — including those for equation solving and integration at all mathematical levels.

Maple provides both 2D and 3D graphics, and can differentiate, integrate, and solve equations, as well as manipulate matrices and perform a host of other mathematical operations.

There are various places on internet where you can look for help on Maple. Here there are some of them:


A good way to get started on UNIX is to check the on-line documentation and quick studies available from RCS. Depending on your needs, you can check some of the following:

  • RCS Basics ( HTML | PDF )
  • Useful UNIX Commands ( HTML | PDF )
  • Changing Your RCS and Windows Passwords ( HTML | PDF )
  • Using the UNIX emacs Editor ( HTML | PDF )
  • Using the UNIX Visual Editor (vi) on the RCS UNIX Platform ( HTML | PDF )
  • Using UNIX Workstations ( HTML | PDF )
  • Using UNIX: The Rensselaer Computing System (RCS) ( HTML | PDF )
  • Sharing Files in RCS UNIX ( HTML | PDF )
  • Usenet News ( HTML )
MATLAB Guides and Information

MATLAB is a computer program for numerical computation. It began as a “MATrix LABoratory” program, intended to provide interactive access to the libraries Linpack and Eispack. It has since grown well beyond these libraries, to become a powerful tool for visualization, programming, research, engineering, and communication.

Matlab’s strengths include cutting edge algorithms, enormous data handling abilities, and powerful programming tools. Matlab is not designed for symbolic computation, but it makes up for this weakness by allowing the user to directly link to Maple. The interface is mostly text-based, which may be disconcerting for some users.

A comprehensive source of help on MATLAB can be found at Mathworks. To get started with MATLAB it might be useful for you to check the ACS tutorial.

Other MATLAB Guides

MATLAB Online Reference Documentation: A Practical Introduction to Matlab by Mark S. Gockenbach (33 pages)
  • A HTML version of the above document
MATLAB Primer, 3d Ed. by Kermit Sigmon (39 pages)

Manuals for MATLAB 6:

Xess Help

Xess is a full-functioned engineering and science spreadsheet program which contains full Xwindow support in a spreadsheet, plus special built-in functions for scientific computation, such as matrix operations and Fourier transforms. The program also supports high quality graphics reports, C and Fortran programming interfaces, and more.

There is a sample grade sheet available that can be saved as a .xs4 file and then opened in Xess. You can also see how the file looks without opening the file in Xess. More information on Xess you can access by typing man xess in a UNIX window.  Copies of The Xess User’s Guide are available on reserve in the Folsom Library, as well as via the ACS Help Desk in the VCC.

More information on this software can be found at the AIS (Applied Information Systems) website. MIT has a useful tutorial for using Xess (it is in version 3.x) and there is other information at Athena Consulting.

LaTeX Help

LaTeX is a document preparation system built on TeX, a typesetting language designed especially for math and science. LaTeX is extremely popular in the scientific and academic communities, and it is used extensively in industry. Because LaTeX is available for just about any type of computer and because LaTeX files are ASCII, scientists send their papers electronically to colleagues around the world in the form of LaTeX input.

Most LaTeX commands are “high-level” (such as chapter and section) and specify the logical structure of a document. The author rarely needs to be concerned with the details of document layout; the document class determines how the document will be formatted. LaTeX provides several standard document classes from which to choose.

A number of LaTeX-related documents are available on RCS, including:

Another valuable source of LaTeX-related information is Leslie Lamport’s user's guide and reference manual, LaTeX: A Document Preparation System, available at the ACS Help Desk in the VCC.

A copy of The LaTeX Companion, written by Goossens, Mittelbach, and Samarin, is also available at the ACS Help Desk in the VCC.

Several of your Math Sciences Department colleagues use (and recommend) A Guide to LaTex, by Helmut Kopka & Patric W. Daly, Addison-Wesley, as a good, readable, LaTex resource.


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