Gabriel Aguilera, Álvaro Fernández, José Luis Galán, Enrique Mérida, Ángel Mora and Pedro Rodríguez
University of Málaga, España
One of the main objectives of this work is to present the
possibilities that free mathematical software can provide for teaching
Mathematics in University. Proprietary software holds several problems
for students and teachers. Licenses for students are, in many cases, too
expensive. For teachers in our University, the license price is not the
only problem: we have to share a software which is centralized in a
server for all the University. This server can be saturated and we even
have had problems when doing an official exam.
In subjects such as Numerical Analysis, the most common software used
is Matlab which is an expensive proprietary software. In our work, we
first analyse the different alternatives to this Matlab within free
software and later we explain the reasons for choosing Scilab + Maxima.
For the exercises we develop in the computer lab, Scilab presents a
similar calculus engine and, Maxima supplies the lack of symbolic
calculation of Scilab.
On the other hand, the main issue for us in using Scilab is its
interface. Matlab interface is really good, and both teachers and
students would miss this proprietary software for this reason.
In this talk we will present the environment Scilab UMA
developed by us as an alternative to Matlab. This environment connects
Scilab (for numerical analysis) and Maxima (for symbolic computations).
Furthermore, the developed interface is in our opinion, at least, as
powerful as the interface of Matlab.
Finally, as we have adapted all the material we use in computer
lectures, we will use Scilab UMA next year in the Numerical Analysis
subjects we teach.