March 11, 2006


I just bought a brand new computer program, and I love it. "What's it called?" you ask. . . .MATHEMATICA! Bwahahaha, the most powerful math program known to man! Normally selling for $2,500 I procured it for the low low price of $130 because I am a student. It is absolutely amazing! You may ask why I would buy math software, well, let me tell you a story.

My dad picked me up from school one day and asked "What do you know about Mathematica?" I told him that I didn't know anything about it. Well, he explained that a friend at work was talking about it. This friend, we'll call him Al, him and I have a nice relationship. When I was in elementary school my dad and I would go over to his house and build tables and puppet theaters, work with computers, and Al even helped teach me how to ride a bike. One of the cool things about Al is that he's a technology genius. He beta-tests computers games as a side job, and beta tested Myst and Riven. For those of you who don't know, beta testing involves doing just about everything on a computer game to check for bugs. Also, if you've ever played Myst or Riven you realize that those games are massive and would take DAYS of beta-testing. I remember notebooks upon notebooks of notes about the games. Anyways, Al asked my dad about Mathematica and explained that it was a must-have for any MIT hopeful like myself. Al went to Stanford and his friend went to MIT, both had Mathematica and everybody else that they knew used Mathematica extensively. The impression that I got was that Mathematica in college was like the TI-83 in high school, a must have. And, Al being the nice guy he is, offered to buy it for me for a graduation gift (that's without the huge student discount). If somebody is willing to buy me $2,500 dollar software I take it upon myself to do some research about said product, and this is what I discovered. Not only does Mathematica do all of the math that my graphing calculator does, but it does so much more. Since it's on the computer it specializes in projects and presentations and can also write equations in proper form, such as this example:

Isn't that neat?!?!? Talk about really nice physics labs and stats projects now! But notation is just scratching the surface. This program
  • Factors/expands polynomials
  • Solves Pi out to, um, wherever you want
  • Solves for as many variables as you want
  • Creates any type of graph under the sun (2D and 3D)
  • Has a whole host of statistical tools
  • Has its own programming language
  • Can transform equations into sound
  • Can animate 3d and 2d graphs
  • Has a dictionary that can be searched, sorted, graphed, edited, and can find anagrams for any word you want.
  • Will map cities, countries, and other geographic locations, telling you the distance between any two points on the globe.
  • Create websites
  • Edit images
  • Countless other things that my brain can't even comprehend right now because the math is so complex.

Basically, I COMPLETELY recommend this software! It comes on only one CD and doesn't take any time to load or run at all because it doesn't have a lot of pictures, but it's so unbelievably powerful it's shocking. It's even slightly intimidating at first, but the help browser is very user friendly and the demos/guides get you off in the right direction. The customer service is very good within the Tech Support department and thus far, there have been no software glitches at all. Please, if you have any interest in math at all, put out the $130 for this $2,500 dollar software. Mathematica will even tell you how much you save:

You save 94.8%! Oh My Gosh, if that's not a deal, I don't know what is. Buy this software!

(oh, if you didn't notice, the AIME post before this one uses Mathematica to show the questions. . .it's so versatile! I love it!)