3-D graphing software?

Dean S. Messing deanm at sharplabs.com
Tue Nov 20 19:14:55 UTC 2007

Dotan Cohen wrote:
: In an advanced Calculus course, we are dealing with functions with 2
: (and more) variables. Is there any 3-D graphing software for Fedora
: available? Something like Kalgebra, but with a bit more functions such
: as multiple functions graphed at the same time, asymptote min max and
: other significant points, zoom into 3-D graph, graph of derivative and
: integral, etc. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the excellent Scilab
system. It is put out by INRIA in France (similar to Sandia or Los
Alamos Nat'l Labs here in the States.) It is FOSS software.

Like Octave, it is a very high level "rapid prototyping" language.  By
"high level" I mean that with great ease one can do a lot of
mathematical computation.

As a simple example, to solve a system of equations,  M*x = b,
where M is the matrix of coefficients, one merely writes

x = M\b;

You may recognise this as Matlab code. Scilab is meant to be nearly
identical to Matlab except for the plotting commands. It runs on
both Window and Linux.

Plotting facilities are good.  You can plot multiple 3D graphs and
then individually rotate them in 3D with your mouse or from the
command-line.  If you are an Emacs user like me, then you will enjoy
using the Emacs Scilab mode instead of the native Scilab command
window.  The plotting facilities allow you do almost anything with
regard to axis labeling, scaling, view angles.

Scilab (like Matlab) has several "toolboxes" which people have written
for special purposes.  The one I use extensively in my research in SIP
(Scilab Image Processing).

Scilab is not symbolic so you won't be able to compute symbolic
derivatives, but it can do numerical differentiation which can
then be plotted.

There is a USENET news support group and several people on it are
experts who have written texts on Scilab so help is available when you
have questions.

Go to <http://www.scilab.org/> for more information.


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