The opinions expressed in external websites are those of the authors of those sites and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the City University of New York or the CUNYMath Oversight Committee.
This page supplies some links to various computer software that may be of interest to mathematics students and faculty. For internet resources about mathematics not particularly pertaining to software, check our Internet Math Resources page.
Click on a heading to read about and link to a certain type of software.
- Mathematics Software
- Mathematics Courseware
- Office Productivity Software
- Web Browsing
- Multimedia Software
- Operating Systems
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There are software packages to aid with algebra, calculus, differential equations, statistics, and other calculation-based mathematics. Some are freely available online (like Sage), and others may cost hundreds of dollars. Check with your campus help desk to see if there is a site license available through your school, or if there are educational discounts.
Mathematica, one of the preeminent commercial mathematical software packages since its initial release in 1988, combines scores of symbolic mathematics tools into one suite. It relies on its own programming language to produce its results. CUNY has a university-wide site license for Mathematica for its students; see your campus help desk for how to acquire a student copy. Also, see the Mathematica Player (formerly MathReader) to be able to read Mathematica notebooks without installing Mathematica.
Maple is another of the most popular commercial mathematical software packages. It was originally developed in 1980, and relies on menus to build reports and projects.
MATLAB (short for “MATrix LABratory”) is a programming language produced by The MathWorks. It is used primarily for numerical computing, and can interface with Maple.
SAGE is a free, open source alternative to expensive mathematics software packages such as Mathematica and Maple. It includes interfaces to most major mathematics packages, and uses the Python programming language to allow integration of programming with mathematics, as well as many older open-source mathematics packages such as GAP. Download it here or try it online here.
GNU Octave is a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides a convenient command line interface for solving linear and nonlinear problems numerically, and for performing other numerical experiments using a language that is mostly compatible with Matlab. It may also be used as a batch-oriented language.
TeX is the most widely used mathematical typesetting language, developed by renowned computer scientist Donald Knuth. The American Mathematical Society has a large list of links to various free versions of TeX (and its expanded form, LaTeX). LaTeX is available through most modern Linux distributions.
MiKTeX is a popular LaTeX installation for modern Windows platforms. You will need to install this or another LaTeX suite before installing a graphical interface, if you wish to use one.
WinShell is a freeware graphical interface for LaTeX on Windows, written and maintained by Ingo H. de Boer since 1998.
SAS (originally Statistical Analysis System) is a commerical suite of software packages for developing programs for statistical analysis.
SPSS (originally Statistical Packages for Social Sciences) is a commercial suite of applications for data mining and statistical analysis.
PSPP is a free open source GNU-based alternative to SPSS. It interprets commands in the SPSS language.
R is a free software environment for statistical programming, available for most popular operating systems.
MathCast is an open source equation editor. It can display equations to the screen and save as image or MathML.
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Courseware is software or organized content that can be used in the preparation or teaching of a course. Web-based courseware is listed on our Internet Math Resources page.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare project has compiled over 1700 courses worth of free materials, including syllabi, lectures, and problems, available for download, including over 75 mathematics courses.
xyAlgebra and xySolver are free-to-download programs written by John C. Miller, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at City College, CUNY. These programs aid students in developing problem solving skills in algebra.
Office Productivity Software
Office productivity software includes word processing, spreadsheets, basic databases, presentations, and document preparation. These programs may help you read or write mathematics papers, syllabi, slideshows, and other documents on your computer.
OpenOffice.org is a free alternative to Microsoft Office products. You can use it to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on almost any operating system, as well as the OpenDocument format.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is a popular PDF reader, available for most computer operating systems.
Ghostscript is a PostScript interpreter, and Ghostview a viewer for PostScript files.
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A web browser is a piece of software used to view web pages on the Internet. Microsoft Windows comes bundled with the Internet Explorer web browser, and Mac OS X comes bundled with the Safari web browser. Some other web browsers and support software are listed below.
Mozilla Firefox is a robust web browser which allows tabbed browsing and many different plug-ins and extensions.
Opera is another strong web browser that supports tabbed browsing and its own plug-ins and extensions.
Chrome is a web browser from Google, released in 2009.
Adobe Flash Player is necessary to view interactive Flash materials on the web.
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Some web sites contain audio or video to aid in teaching or learning mathematics. Here are some links to software that will allow you to watch videos or listen to audio on your computer.
VLC Player plays almost any audio or video file format, and uses less memory than other major media players.
Windows Media Player is Microsoft’s video player for Windows operating systems.
QuickTime is Apple’s primary video format. The QuickTime Player is available for Mac and Windows operating systems.
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The operating system is the software underpinning of a computer, controlling startup, shutdown, user logging, file transfers, application use, hardware devices, and much more. This is by no means an exhaustive list of operating systems, but a sampling of free and commercial operating systems available for use at home and school. Note that some operating systems have hardware requirements that your computer at home may not fulfill.
Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need – a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and much more.
Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open source software. Fedora is always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. It is built by people across the globe who work together as a community: the Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is open and anyone is welcome to join.
FreeBSD® is an advanced operating system for x86 compatible (including Pentium® and Athlon™), amd64 compatible (including Opteron™, Athlon™64, and EM64T), UltraSPARC®, IA-64, PC-98 and ARM architectures. It is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It is developed and maintained by a large team of individuals. Additional platforms are in various stages of development.
Microsoft Windows is a popular operating system on most desktops and laptops. The most current Microsoft Windows operating systems are XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
Mac OS X is the current operating system exclusively for use on the Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, and the rest of Apple’s line of computers.