Maxima for Economics

Maxima is a computer algebra system (CAS) that provides powerful tools for the manipulation of symbolic and numerical expressions, including differentiation, integration, vectors, matrices, and so on. It also provides commands for plotting functions, curves and data in two and three dimensions. In opposition to other CAS Maxima has a quite long history and is open source software. From the Maxima manual:
Maxima is a descendant of Macsyma, the legendary computer algebra system developed in the late 1960s at the MIT. It is the only system based on that effort still publicly available and with an active user community. Macsyma was revolutionary in its day, and many other systems were inspired by it. In 1998, Professor W.F. Schelter of the University of Texas obtained permission form the Department of Energy to release the Macsyma source code under the GNU Public License, and in 2000 he initiated the Maxima project at SourceForge to maintain and develop Macsyma, now called Maxima.
Maxima is available on many operating systems including MS Windows®, Mac OSX®, and Linux. More information and the software can be found on the Maxima project site.

Maxima at its heart has a command line interface and by itself it is not capable of displaying formatted mathematics beyond the plain text level. For most users that has been grown up with graphical user interfaces (GUI) this is unfamiliar and may seem quite arcane. Fortunately, nowadays more fancy GUIs are available. In this tutorial the popular wxMaxima interface is used. Its interface consists of a notebook with menus and a toolbar which allows an inexperienced user to pick an appropriate command. These commands as well as their outputs are printed into the notebook. On the other hand these commands can also directly be entered and edited and thus provide a powerful workspace for the experienced user. The notebook can then be saved at the end of a session and reloaded for later use. Thus it allows the user to construct a document that consists of text, calculations, and plots. wxMaxima also provides a menubar and a toolbar. Nevertheless, we restrict our presentation to the commandline interface. Thus the tutorial can be used to work with any other interface to Maxima as well.

The Tutorial

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Last change: Mon Sep 26, 2011 by josef leydold

[Miran, `Im Bergwerk I']