Sage (again): everything math


Vinh Nguyen


May 19, 2009

I blogged about Sage in the past and stated that I won't be using it much since R is my language/environment of choice. This is still true, but I wanted to write a few more comments about Sage after toying with it a bit more.

Sage is based on Python (good!) and its mission statement is

Mission: Creating a viable free open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab.

I like it. If I need to solve an equation, factor, do partial fraction decomposition, do Taylor expansions, find derivatives, integrate, and all else math, Sage is there for me. It's both free (open-source) and easy to use. The learning curve is pretty low if you want to do basic things like create examples for teaching Calculus. Plotting is also great but R is superior in my opinion. Sage graphics outperforms R graphics in one respect: it can include and display LaTeX equations natively (uses matlibplot, which is based on GNU-plot, I think). Sage also displays the vertical and horizontal axes in the center of a plot, similar to the graphs in textbooks I grew up with. Sage graphics seems more geared towards teaching whereas R is geared towards professional publishing.

Personally, I'll use Sage when I teach stuff like Calculus where I need plots with axes and all other math features that R isn't built for.

There is a sage mode for emacs, however, is in alpha mode as of now, so the features aren't comparable to ESS is for R.

Another great thing about Sage is it has a notebook GUI that allows it to be run inside a web browser. Therefore, you can run a Sage server that allows users run Sage interactively! See this for example. You can run notebook() on your own computer or create an account on the previous site to test it out