Monday, December 26, 2011

Differentiation in Maxima

Mathematica is a great piece of software.  You can do many things with it mathematically.  However, it is not free and not always available.  I am trying to find some replacements that are free, cross-platform, readily available, relatively easy to use.

I have been trying at Maxima using the wxMaxima interface and have been quite pleased with it.  So far I have been able to graph functions related to my research.  However, Mathematica is pretty powerful as you can do differentiation, integration, etc. with ease.  Just recently, I tried the differentiation ability of Maxima.  It is possible to do differentiation in Maxima.  So far I have only tried a simple polynomial.  The command for differentiation is:

diff(expr, x)

Here is a screen shot of some examples I did.

Now if I could figure out if and how to simplify the last expression.  If Maxima can do that, then it is a very viable option to Mathematica for several things.

I found this differentiation command at

Update:  So as you might have noticed I got a great tip in the comments on how to simplify this fraction.  The tip comes from Mike Croucher who has a great, insightful blog which I must admit I don't read often enough due to time but check it out anyways.  It is well established and post similar topics yet more advanced and involved examples.


  1. Hi

    You can get a simplify your last expression in Maxima as follows


    Hope this helps,

  2. Aww sweet! Just tried it, and it works great! I figured Maxima could do this! Thanks for the tip! I'll update the post.