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What is SymbMath ?

"Free OnLine Dictionary Of Computing " (FOLDOC) defines SymbMath as "Symbolic math package, which can learn new facts."

SymbMath (Java™ Edition) is web-based symbolic math and computer algebra system, which runs in any computer with Java™ technology. You can play it online.

SymbMath (DOS Edition) is computer algebra system.

Software Review

A list of software review is on the web page of Publication.
 reviewed SymbMath (DOS Edition)

"SymbMath (short for symbolic mathematics) is a calculator for solving 
symbolic math problems. It is an expert system that can perform exact 
numeric, symbolic, and graphic computations, and it can learn from the 
user's input. It manipulates complicated formulas and returns answers 
in terms of symbols, formulas, exact numbers, tables, and graphs. 
If the user inputs a single formula without writing any code, the 
program will automatically learn many problems related to that formula."
 reviewed SymbMath (Java™ Edition) 

"This application is an online symbolic math and computer algebra 
system, powered by SymbMath. It can perform exact, numeric, symbolic, 
and graphic computations and includes arbitrary-precision calculation, 
equation solving, plot data and user-defined functions, linear 
regression, symbolic differentiation, and integration."

        The magazine "Australian PC World", June 1992, page 119, 
reviewed, "SymbMath 1.4 belongs in a more esoteric field, that 
of symbolic mathematics. If you've ever had need for programs such as 
Maple or Mathematica, you'll know about symbolic mathematics, also called 
algebraic computation or symbolic manipulation. SymbMath is a symbolic 
calculator that can manipulate complicated formulas and return answers 
in terms of symbols. It solves the same sort of problems as programs like 
Mathematica, but still runs in 640 K of RAM as opposed to Mathematica's
4 Mb plus. Although SymbMath is still being added to, it has generated
interest in the scientific sections of some overseas electronic bulletin 
boards, being one of the most frequently downloaded programs at some 
monitored sites".

        The "IEEE Micro" journal on February 1992, page 76, said
"SymbMath, an expert system that solves mathematic problems in symbolic 
formula or through numeric computation ... requires significantly less 
RAM than most comparable software - 640 Kbytes, as opposed to as much as 
4 Mbytes".

        The "Australian PC World" magazine on 1993 
July, page 147, reviewed "SymbMath 2.0 is a symbolic calculator that can 
manipulate complicated formulas and return answers in term of symbols. It 
solves the same sort of problems as programs such as Mathematica and Maple 
(and some that they can't), yet runs within 640K of RAM."

        "PC Plus", the June 1993 issue, page 281, reviewed SymbMath 
as follows.
SUPPLIER: Public Domain and Shareware Library
PHONE: (0892) 663298
FOR: Powerful maths functions
     Automatically learns from user input
     Modest hardware requirements 
AGAINST: Needs advanced maths knowledge 
MINIMUM HARDWARE:    DRIVES: Hard disk,   RAM:  640 Kb
*  Mathematics whizzes should find SymbMath a capable facility for 
handling complex problems.
        Symbmath,  short for Symbolic Mathematics, is both an advanced 
mathematical calculator and an expert system. Designed by Australian 
Weiguang Huang for solving university and professional level symbolical 
maths problems.  Symbmath  will  also perform exact numerical 
computation. It's able to manipulate extremely complicated formulae, 
returning answers in terms of symbols, formulae, or exact numbers as 
required.  The program can learn from your calculations, automatically 
adding your problem-solving techniques to its  repertoire:  making it of 
interest to artificial intelligence researchers as well as mathematicians, 
particularly as you don't have to write any code.
        Its capabilities are impressive, going well beyond the facilities  
offered by rival  programs.    It's very fast and includes wide-ranging 
and sophisticated routines for  differentiation,  integration, equation 
solving, algebraic calculations, exact and floating point numerical
computation of numbers ranging from plus to minus infinity, and an ex-
tensive array of other advanced facilities that will be more than enough 
to handle academic or practical mathematical problems  of  even  extreme  
        Despite this extensive computing power, Symbmath will 
nevertheless run on very basic hardware: you need at least 640 Kb of RAM 
and a hard disk, but  an 8088-based PC with a monochrome monitor is ample 
for even very convoluted calculations.  You'll need to be well-schooled 
in advanced maths but, if you are,  you'll will find SymbMath, well 
worth investigating.

        "Refections", Vol. 18, No. 2, May 1993, page
58, reviewed SymbMath: 
        "An alternative for MS-DOS users which has the unique advantage of 
being `home grown', SymbMath is the only Australian-made computer algebra 
system of which I am aware. SymbMath comes in three versions (shareware, 
student and advanced), with corresponding increases in price and in 
capabilities. The student version is reviewed here, and was found to be 
a versatile and useful mathematical tool.
        Like Maple on Macintosh, mathematical input must be entered in 
`computer syntax', but SymbMath (like Maple V and Derive) has the option 
of two-dimensional output, which provides a reasonable approximation of 
mathematical notation. Its capabilities are impressive, including a 
`chemistry' option, in which it performs chemical calculations and 
operates on chemical equations, and a unique ability to `learn' from the 
user. Entering a rule for differentiation, for example, automatically 
`teaches' the program how to integrate using that rule; trigonometric 
identities and algebraic formulas can likewise be used as the basis for 
        At the same time, the programs provide more than adequate computer 
algebra capabilities, and represent excellent value for money."

        "Chemistry in Australia" magazine, December 1993, page 665, 
        "SymbMath 2.2 (an abbreviation for Symbolic Mathematics) is a
software package for symbolic computation. It runs on IBM PC compatible
under DOS and requires only 420 Kbytes of memory. It is an integrated
software package with pull-down and pop-up menus, on-line help and on-
line manuals which make application easier. The diskette also contain a
detailed manual with many examples.
        SymbMath performs both exact numerical computations and evaluates
symbolic formulae. The package has the capability of solving mathematical
expressions, simultaneous equations, limits, differentiation, integration,
sums and products etc. It is also a programming language working as an
interpreter with variety of types, loops, arrays, functions etc. which
enable writing of programs for solving of more complex mathematical
procedures. This also enables documentation of your calculations.
        The package is very easy to apply. The user just needs to type 
the command for the required mathematical operation, and the expression(s).
Mathematical problems which usually require lots of calculation time can
be solved quickly.
        SymbMath has the ability to deduce and expand its knowledge. 
Provided with necessary facts, the package may solve many problems that 
they were unable to solve before e.g. integrals etc. There is a chemical
calculation package which is capable of stoichiometric calculations as 
well as an inorganic reaction package which may provide answers for some
inorganic chemical reactions. It also performs plots of functions and 
data and interface with other software.
        Like the other software packages for symbolic mathematics e.g.
Mathematica, MAPLE etc., SymbMath is suitable for performing calculations
of expressions, solving various mathematical problems, or performing 
preliminary analysis before solving very complex mathematical problems.
The availability of such software has already had an impact on teaching 
mathematics at universities and there will be more applications for such
packages in the future because they enable easy solution of diverse
mathematical problems. Compared with large packages like Mathematica 
capable of solving very complex problems (which runs under Microsoft
Windows which itself require a very large memory), SymbMath has a big
advantage in that it requires very little memory, it is much easier to 
learn and it is much less expensive. I would highly recommend the package
for anyone who uses mathematics in their work."

        "IEEE Expert" on August 1993, Vol. 8, No. 4, page 99, reviewed:
"SymbMath 2.2 is an expert system for solving symbolical math problems
and performing exact numeric computations. It can manipulate complicated
formulas and return answers in terms of symbols, formulas, and exact 
numbers. It also learns from users; for instance, it can learn the 
integrals of an unknown function from a derivatives of the function. The 
shareware version is available from Simtel20 archives on anonymous FTP
sites ( as /huang/ or by e-mail from or listserv@ndsum1.bitnet. Student and Advanced
versions are also available."

        The "Australian PC World" magazine on 1994 July, page 257, 
reviewed "SymbMath - a symbolic calculator that can manipulate 
complicated formulas and return answers in term of symbols
in the same category as more expensive programs such as Mathematica."

        Newspapers "Campus Review" on July 7, 1994, page 12, published
a review titled "Symbmaths is for serious numbers".

        Newspapers "Uniken" on July 29, 1994, page 1, published half-page 
of an article titled "SymbMath program takes complex problems out of maths".

        Magazine "Computer Market" on September 1994, page 39-40, said:
"Dr Weiguang Huang, who is obviously something of a beaver brain, has 
developed a piece of software called SymbmMath 3.1. Based on symbolic math
principles, the program will perform exact numeric, symbolic and algebraic 
calculations. It is also clever enough to learn from the user's input, such
as integrals of an unknown function." 


The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers in "Software Reviews" session of "Mathematical Bytes", Volume 3, Number 2, October 1995, reviewed SymbMath:

This DOS application is a powerful computer algebra package which supports everything from simplification to integration. It is an Australian product, written by Dr Weiguang Huang at the University of New South Wales, and will perform most of the functions of the power tools in this field (such as Mathematica and Maple) but at a fraction of the cost.

SymbMath creates a Windows-like environment, with separate Input and Output windows and easy access to help and keyword menus. Since it operates using a "command-line" structure (with the user required to enter keywords rather than to choose operations from a menu) this access to help is very important. While I prefer a simpler approach to input of both commands and mathematical expressions, this program is well structured in this regard, and certainly much improved upon earlier versions.

Possibly the most disappointing aspect of the package is its graphing capabilities, which provide adequate two-dimensional function, polar and parametric plots. The lack of three-dimensional capabilities at a time when most competitors are offering, not only 3-D graphing but animation as well, is unfortunate.

At the same time, SymbMath offers some very useful and powerful features which complement its quite extensive algebraic manipulation and calculus capabilities. These include the ability to work with chemical formulae and equations (Yes - it will solve reaction problems using chemical symbols and computations involving atomic weights, mass and more!) and a nice database function, allowing the user to store everything from telephone numbers to geometric properties of figures. Drawing features are also available within the graphics mode. SymbMath is also an "expert system", capable of "learning" from the user during computation. Inputting a single formula (for example, a derivative) automatically teaches the corresponding integration rules. This is a powerful and interesting feature.

This program is available from the author in three versions: shareware ($10), student ($60) and advanced ($99). Each contains successively more functions. The shareware version, for example, lacks a "solve" command and all trigonometric functions except sine and cosine, and so has quite limited application in schools. The student version, however, lacks only the hyperbolic functions, and so would be quite adequate for school use. At the price, this represents good value for extensive algebraic capabilities.

As an assistant in the senior school, SymbMath appears to offer a range of very useful features at an affordable price.


The HP Palmtop Paper, 1999, 8(6), Issue 48, reviewed:

8. Symbolic Math

SymbMath is a computer algebra system that can perform exact numeric, symbolic and graphic computation. It manipulates complicated formulas and returns answers in terms of symbols, formulas, exact numbers, table and graph. SymbMath is also an expert system that is able to learn from user's input. If the user only inputs one formula without writing any code, it will automatically learn many problems related to this formula (e.g. it learns many integrals involving an unknown function f(x) from one derivative f'(x) ).

SymbMath is, in another sense, a programming language in which you can define conditional, case, piecewise, recursion, multi-value functions and procedures, derivatives, integrals and rules.

The program runs on the HP Palmtop and does almost everything that Derive can do.

Symbolic Math comes in one of three versions: Shareware, Student, and Advanced. Its three versions are available from the author, Dr. Weiguang Huang.