Top Mathematica features for engineering students?

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Re: Top Mathematica features for engineering students?

Postby bsyehuda » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:56 am

Dear Michael
considering your comments
They need to be able to take their notebooks, make changes, do what-ifs, share them with others in an interactive way. If our students have to retype everything to make the equations live again, they just won't do it.

Matlab can be changed. If a line is edited, for example changing "x" from 5 to 10, the entire document can be rerun with the change in effect. With Mathematica, every line of math has to be retyped, whether it has been changed or not. Tedious.

it seems that you are relating to a software other than Mathematica.
I agree that if a student will have to retype everything from the beginning, it will make everything worthless, BUT
Retyping everything? Why should they?
If a line is edited then everything need to be RETYPED? again why? If you work with := (SetDelay) and not with = (set) this dependency on the new value is automatic

even if not using := for that need, modify the line, then CTRL-A (select all) and then evaluate. For students purposes (labs and assignments), the evaluation takes not more than several seconds.

In addition, the new DynamicModule allows you to save graphics and all related evaluation with the last set of values that was used prior to the save operation, and continue the exploration (eg., Manipulate) from the last point that was considered.
Our students vote by doing and choosing Mathematica. Even when there is a "studential noise" that learning Mathematica is more difficult than learning matlab, they practically use Mathematica because they choose so.

I have also given several courses to engineers from our local industry. They had several years of matlab experience and during the course they have found Mathematica appealing to their needs (several companies with different scopes)

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Re: Top Mathematica features for engineering students?

Postby Jose_Luis_Gomez » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:45 pm

Michael_Fanelli wrote:
With Mathematica, every line of math has to be retyped, whether it has been changed or not. Tedious.

Michael, this is NOT true. Unless there is something weird about your Mathematica installation, then following should work: First open a previously saved Mathematica notebook, then in the top menu of Mathematica open the EDIT menu, inside that menu choose SELECT-ALL, after that press at the same time SHIFT-ENTER, and the entire Mathematica notebook will be recalculated (re-run).

On the other hand, you can also re-run a single calculation without retyping. Just place the cursor in the formula or command (make any change if you want to) and press Shit-Enter. No retyping is needed unless you want to make changes.

The important thing is that, unlike Mathcad, what "you see" is not necessarily what "Mathematica sees", Mathematica only "sees" those calculations where you have pressed SHIFT-ENTER, eventhogh you have erased and you do not "see" them any more, this is important because variables can have values even if you do not see the assignment anymore (different from what happens with Mathcad). In order to, lets say, "synchronize" what you "see" and what Mathematica "sees", the best idea is to restart Mathematica, open the notebook, SELECT-ALL in the Edit Menu, and evaluate SHIFT-ENTER, so that everything in the Notebook is evaluated and Mathematica and you see the same.

Hope that helps
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Re: Top Mathematica features for engineering students?

Postby Pramud_Rawat » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:42 am

The benefits of using Mathematica in teaching depend on the subject that is to be taught. If the subject is like statistics, no other tool comes close: Mathematica is incredibly powerful in course development. If the subject is fluid dynamics or structural analysis, you have to use tools like COMSOL and NASTRAN. If a system of large nember of degrees of freedom is to be simulated, you might prefer Matlab-Simulink.

It may be useful also to note that because Mathematica offers a large number of functions, and each function offers numerous options, it takes a lot of effort to become good in using Mathematica, and in using its debugging capabilities. Furthermore, if you wish to use object-oriented programming techniques, you have to implement common programming constructs like 'structure' and 'object class' in creative ways.

But, if you persevere, you are likely to fall in love with Mathematica and become addicted to it.

In attacking simulations of large number of degrees of freedom, I use Mathematica to derive my differential equation set, then I use Matlab-Simulink to run the simulation. In this approach, there is a small problem in converting Greek characters to Latin form and a few other issues, but the combination works very well. After simulation, I often import the results back in to Mathematica for its nice 3-D display and animation capabilities.

You may find yourself in a similar situation.

To conclude, in the statistics course that I am developing, I do not think I would want to use any other tool. If you have a view on this particular use of Mathematica, I will greatly appreciate hearing from you.
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Re: Top Mathematica features for engineering students?

Postby telefunkenvf14 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:26 pm

What Mathematica features and functions do your engineering students find most useful?



I *really* wish the 'Signals and Systems' package was still sold. (or if you no longer want to support it; perhaps you could turn it into a community, open-source project?) I realize many of the features have been rolled into MMA itself, but after reading the documentation for the Signals and Systems package, it really bums me out that it's not available. (lots of useful examples and explanations for self-study from the Elec. Engineer point of view.)

A second package (engineering related) in need of an update is Fuzzy Logic---been waiting over a year and a half for it to be updated for 7.0.

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Re: Top Mathematica features for engineering students?

Postby Jerry_Blimabum » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:24 pm

I took several courses in Engineering Electromagnetics , undergraduate (text by Saduki) and graduate (text by Balanis) and did all my studying and homework with Mathematica....I'm proud to say that I did not use a single pencil and paper operation....all my work was done with Mathematica especially with it's Vector Analysis program....most of the other students did not have this advantage....I was always ahead of the curve....and felt I had learned much more then most of the other students because of Mathematica....I have many Mathematica notebooks replete with the work I did in these courses.....Mathematica and Engineering Electromagnetics are a Perfect Fit, literally....Unfortunately, without showing much of the work that I did, it's hard to show its value....if I were teaching Eng Electromagnetics, Mathematica would have to be an essential part of the course....
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