First presenter Co-presenter(s)
Name :  Gabriel Aguilera * Name:   et al.
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Affiliation: University of Málaga Name:   
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Country: España Name:   
01-20  E-mail:    
Session: 1- Computer Algebra in Education Schedule:
Saturday, 9:30
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Title of
Scilab and Maxima Environment: Towards free software in Numerical Analysis

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.