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Interactive Math Tools


Mathematica is used for symbolic computation and complex analysis as well as 2D and 3D graphics and programming. Mathematica creates fully customizable, publication-quality, cross-platform electronic and printed documents with professional mathematical typesetting quality, and it also generates Web-ready documents.

Mathematica is available only on OCF and SCF Intel x86 CPU production systems. It is not available on Power9/8 systems like Sierra, Lassen, or Ray.

To use Mathematica, you must first load the desired module package. To see all available versions, use the command:

module avail mathematica

To load the default version, which should be the most recent and recommended version, simply enter:

module load mathematica

Otherwise, use module load packagename to use a different version.

After doing this, mathematica commands should be in your path. 

Mathematica offers a choice of two interfaces: a text interface and a GUI interface. To use the GUI interface, log on using an X terminal or Xterm simulator and enter:


To start the text interface, enter:


There are a limited number of Mathematica licenses on LC systems. If no license is available, you will receive a message indicating that the license limit has been reached or that no license was returned. You can check the license status using the MyLC user portal:  Look for the "License status" portlet. Clicking on the mathematica bar will provide additional license details.

To read more about Mathematica, consult Stephen Wolfram's Mathematica, A System for Doing Mathematics by Computer, which is considered the definitive source. The vendor Web site for Mathematica features introductory and tutorial background and offers support and help. The Mathematica Journal is free and publishes articles about Mathematica techniques and applications.


MATLAB is an interactive matrix "laboratory" developed and distributed by MathWorks. It is used for tasks involving matrices, graphics, and general numerical computation. There are numerous user-developed packages for MATLAB that can be downloaded from the Internet.

The Engineering Directorate provides a MATLAB installation on LC systems as part of the Engineering Software Tool Kit (ESTK) (

To run the "default" version of MATLAB using the GUI, log on to an LC Linux system using an X terminal or Xterm simulator, and type


To run the latest available version of MATLAB using the GUI, log on to an LC Linux system using an X terminal or Xterm simulator, and type


To access a specific version, use the path name /usr/gapps/estk/matlab-nn where nn is the version number. Note that LC maintains an old build of matlab in /usr/tce/packages/matlab/8.1/bin/matlab that you may also use. You can reach MATLAB's help documentation by typing help_win at the MATLAB prompt. A separate window opens and provides a list of help topics. Click the help topic you want to get more information. You can also type helpdesk or visit the MathWorks Web site. There is also a command-line interface for MATLAB.

If all MATLAB licenses are being used, you will receive a warning telling you to "get a valid password." The current ESTK license usage can be seen at

For additional information, visit the vendor Web site for MATLAB.


Octave is a high-level interpreted language primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides capabilities for the numerical solution of linear and nonlinear problems and for performing other numerical experiments. It also provides extensive graphics capabilities for data visualization and manipulation. Octave is normally used through its interactive command-line interface, but it can also be used to write non-interactive programs. The Octave language is quite similar to MATLAB so that most programs are easily portable.

To use Octave, log onto an LC Linux Cluster system and type