And he concedes that Macsyma, Maple, and Mathematica can do more than can Derive.
Derive is to Macsyma, Maple, and Mathematica as a calculator is to a computer.
Both Macsyma and Maple are revisions of software initially generated in academic settings, while Mathematica, despite its equally scholarly sounding name has been business-oriented from the start.
The progenitor of all these versions of Macsyma was a government-funded research project begun on a DEC PDP-10 at MIT's Artificial Intelligence laboratory in 1968.
The DOE version of Macsyma is little more than that frozen code, save for fixes of some of the bugs that users have discovered.
While DOE Macsyma is installed at 250 sites, Symbolics' Macsyma has racked up 10 times that number of installations, according to development manager Randy Zeitvogel.
DOE Macsyma runs under Vax/VMS and Unix as well as Alliant's Concentrix and Data General's AOS/VS.
a company that supported the Vax/VMS version of DOE Macsyma until relatively recently.
Maple, for example, has more than 2,500 functions; Macsyma, more than 2,000; and Mathematica, more than 2,200.
The graphics capabilities of mathematical software systems are another area where a few specific systems stand out, notably Research System's IDL, Mathematica, Maple, HiQ, and Macsyma.
Developers were able to provide these features on the PC through the use of what is sometimes called "garbage collection," a process by which a computer program identifies information that won't be used again--in this case, the many intermediate expressions generated as PC Macsyma works through a problem--and then removes it from memory.
PC Macsyma performs basic and matrix algebra and trigonometry, differential and integral calculus, and vector and tensor analysis.