December 19, 2014

Mathematica

mathematica
Mathematica is a software package used for communicating scientific ideas in a variety of ways, whether this is visualization of a concept in an intro-level course, or creating a simulation of a new idea related to research.

Mathematica is available for free to UAB faculty, staff and students, thanks to funding from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering.

Campus machines

Follow the directions below to download software from Wolfram and request the appropriate activation key. If you do not have administrator access to your machine, please contact your IT support for assistance.

    1. Create an account (New users only):
      1. Go to user.wolfram.com and click "Create Account"
      2. Fill out form using a @uab.edu email, and click "Create Wolfram ID"
      3. Check your email and click the link to validate your Wolfram ID
    2. Request the download and key:
      1. Fill out this form to request an Activation Key
      2. Click the "Product Summary page" link to access your license
      3. Click "Get Downloads" and select "Download" next to your platform
      4. Run the installer on your machine, and enter Activation Key at prompt

Computer labs

  • Please contact your College IT representatives for specific installation information.
  • UAB College of Arts & Sciences, contact IT at: 205-975-4500, casit@uab.edu, www.uab.edu/casit

Faculty and staff personally-owned machines

Fill out this form to request a home-use license from Wolfram.

Student personally-owned machines

Follow the directions below to download from the Wolfram User Portal.

    1. Create an account (New users only):
      1. Go to user.wolfram.com and click "Create Account"
      2. Fill out form using a @uab.edu email, and click "Create Wolfram ID"
      3. Check your email and click the link to validate your Wolfram ID
    2. Request the download and key:
      1. Fill out this form to request an Activation Key
      2. Click the "Product Summary page" link to access your license
      3. Click "Get Downloads" and select "Download" next to your platform
      4. Run the installer on your machine, and enter Activation Key at prompt
Are you interested in putting Mathematica elsewhere? Please let IT or Troy Schaudt at Wolfram Research know.



The first two tutorials are excellent for new users, and can be assigned to students as homework to learn Mathematica outside of class time.

Follow along in Mathematica as you watch this multi-part screencast that teaches you the basics—how to create your first notebook, calculations, visualizations, interactive examples, and more.

Provides examples to help you get started with new functionality in Mathematica 10, including machine learning, computational geometry, geographic computation, and device connectivity.

Access step-by-step instructions ranging from how to create animations to basic syntax information.

Search Wolfram's large collection of materials for example calculations or tutorials in your field of interest.



Mathematica offers an interactive classroom experience that helps students explore and grasp concepts, plus gives faculty the tools they need to easily create supporting course materials, assignments, and presentations.

Resources for Educators

Learn how to make your classroom dynamic with interactive models, explore computation and visualization capabilities in Mathematica that make it useful for teaching practically any subject at any level, and get best-practice suggestions for course integration.

Learn how to create a slideshow for class that shows a mixture of graphics, calculations, and nicely formatted text, with live calculations or animations.

Download pre-built, open-code examples from a daily-growing collection of interactive visualizations, spanning a remarkable range of topics.

Access on-demand and live courses on Mathematica, SystemModeler, and other Wolfram technologies.



Rather than requiring different toolkits for different jobs, Mathematica integrates the world's largest collection of algorithms, high-performance computing capabilities, and a powerful visualization engine in one coherent system, making it ideal for academic research in just about any discipline.

Resources for researchers

Explore Mathematica's high-level and multi-paradigm programming language, support for parallel computing and GPU architectures, built-in functionality for specialized application areas, and multiple publishing and deployment options for sharing your work.

Learn how to create programs that take advantage of multicore machines or available clusters.

Learn what areas of Mathematica are useful for specific fields.



In general, Mathematica is a high-level complete system, while MatLab is a low-level core with specialist toolboxes. Most engineering colleges at research universities maintain both products, including UAB. Because MatLab has separate toolboxes, each toolbox can only assume the functionality of the basic, core system; Mathematica is an all-in-one software which is interconnected nicely. For example, in Mathematica, purely numeric commands can perform symbolic pre-processing for richer and more accurate results, which is not possible in MatLab because of the design. This overall concept applies to the vast majority of Mathematica’s commands when compared to MatLab.

Engineers and other groups on campus value the following functionality, which is unique to Mathematica:

  • Very sophisticated symbolic algorithms for closed-form solutions to problems
  • Much easier to create mouse-driven interfaces to visualize variations in equations or simulations,
  • The highest quality and most accurate graphics engine available for symbolic and numeric graphics,
  • Support for both machine precision and arbitrary precision,
  • Automatic switching between algorithms for best results,
  • Solves any order ODE (rather than only first-order in MatLab),
  • Integration for any n-dimensions (rather than only 3 in MatLab),
  • Wolfram Language included to program in procedural, functional, object-oriented, or rule-based style makes language easier to learn (rather than procedural only in MatLab),
  • Mathematica’s  high-level language requires less code to develop algorithms or ideas than MatLab
  • Text and equation typesetting document interface with slideshow mode (not available in MatLab),
  • Load-on-demand data sets to use in addition to importing a wide variety of types of data
  • IDE based on Eclipse, which researchers more commonly know and work with (rather than MatLab’s home-grown IDE).
  • Import of MatLab data sets supported for high-quality rendering of MatLab results in Mathematica

To learn more about Matlab and access it, click here.



Windows installation instructions
Mac OS X installation instructions
Linux installation instructions

For assistance with using the Mathematica software: