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Computer algebra systems (CAS) and numerical modelling software

Posted 08-09-2018 at 01:29 PM by kingbeowulf

As many of you know, Slackware ships with a heap of software for the main distribution, but does not have a binary repository like some other distributions for additional. Hence, a volunteer organization: Slackbuilds.org (SBo), as well as others too numerous to mention.

For CAS and numerical calculations, covering a huge range of mathematics, including basic algebra, calculus, elementary to very advanced number theory, cryptography, numerical computation, commutative algebra, group theory, combinatorics, graph theory, exact linear algebra, SBo has (not necessarily a complete list):
  • sage
  • scilab
  • smath-studio
  • maxima
  • octave
  • mathics
  • reduce-algebra
Not all of the above will have the same mathematics focus: some are more for applied physics and engineering, others for more theoretical mathematics. If you are a Slackware user, and your hobby/work/research involves the use of CAS and numerical/symbolic mathematics, you should try these to see which one works best for you.

A word of warning regarding sagemath (sage). The buildscript on SBo is old and does not work well. The sage development team has made a few design choices that make it difficult to write a buildscript to create a relocatable, installable binary package. Arch (AUR), for example, is up to 16 patches in trying to do so. Some issues:
  • Upstream does not want you to compile as root
  • All modules paths are hard coded during compile
As Such the current maintainer as given up and tossed sage back to the Slackware community. Hopefully someone will take up the challenge.

If you want to try out sage, download the pre-built binary as the compile can take a VERY LONG time even on a fairly fast system. Source compilation in $HOME or another user (non-root) accessible directory is possible. Just don't expect to be able to build a Slackware package from that build-tree, or move it to another location.

References:
SlackBuilds Repository
List of computer algebra systems
Mathematical software
Information service for mathematical software
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