Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have many huge algebraic expressions such as:


where $\ Y=\dfrac{Kx(1+x)^{n+2}}{(n+4)(1+5x)^{2/5}}+\dfrac{7-10x-x^2}{7(1+x)^2}+\dfrac{Ax}{(1+5x)^{2/5}(1+x)^2}\ $ and $A,n$ are constants.

To simplify these expressions by hand is taking me a lot of time and there is also the danger of making a mistake. I am looking for a free software on the internet using which I can simplify these expressions. Does anyone have any recommendations?

share|cite|improve this question
I am not sure if wolfram alpha works like mathematica where one can define what $Y$ is, and then type in "Full Simplify[$ \frac{8Y}{1+x} - \ldots + \frac{Kx(1+5x)^{3/2}}{2}$]." – user38268 Jan 2 '12 at 15:05 – David Mitra Jan 2 '12 at 15:23
just another doubt i just got, cant matlab be used? ( i know author is asking for a free software) – Bhargav Jan 2 '12 at 18:30
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The most popular open-source symbolic math software is Maxima: It's pretty sophisticated. You could also check out sage, yacas, and axiom.

share|cite|improve this answer
Interesting. Are there statistics showing this is "most popular"? – GEdgar Jan 2 '12 at 16:02
You can use Maxima inside of Sage, as well as many other features that are not in Maxima. – Graphth Jan 2 '12 at 18:30

Note that if you set $\rm\ z = (5x+1)^{1/5}\ $ then your computations reduce to rational function arithmetic combined with the rewrite rule $\rm\: z^5\ \to\ 5x+1\ $ with the following expressions


where $\ Y\ =\ \dfrac{Kx(1+x)^{n+2}}{(n+4)z^2}+\dfrac{7-10x-x^2}{7(1+x)^2}+\dfrac{Ax}{(z(1+x))^2}\ $ and $A,n$ are constants.

This is so simple that it can be done by hand. When using computer algebra systems you need to be sure that they can effectively compute with algebraic functions, or that they can effectively handle said rewrite rule implementing this simple special case. For example, in Macsyma (or Maxima, e.g. in Sage) one may use $\rm\:radcan\:$ (RADical CANonicalize) or, alternatively, set $\rm\:algebraic:true\:$ and do $\rm\:tellrat(\:z^5 =\: 5*x+1)\ $ and then employ the $\rm\:rat\:$ function to normalize such "rational" expressions.

share|cite|improve this answer
One can argue whether it still can be treated as rational function because of that nasty $(1+x)^{n+2}$. The difference between $x^5$ and $x^n$ however negligible it seems to be can turn to a stopper. Well, at least for math software OP is interested in. – Yrogirg May 25 '12 at 16:44
@Yrogirg Yes, I am aware of that (I was a lead developer of Macsyma). – Bill Dubuque May 25 '12 at 16:47

Try WolframAlpha, It is free on the internet. But another one you can also try which is very easy to use is Maple. I cannot tell if it is free.

share|cite|improve this answer
I tried wolfram alpha before posting here as I am aware of that site. But it doesnt work. Also Maple isnt free. I have heard of a free alternative to Maple called Sage but do not know anything about it. – Shahab Jan 2 '12 at 15:23
@Shahab you are right, and I think Python as well. Try I think is very easy to use, but you can always download free materials from the internet. – smanoos Jan 2 '12 at 15:30

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.