# Maxima and computer algebra use in STACK

STACK uses the computer algebra system (CAS) Maxima. We have also provided some background to CAS in general.

Computer algebra systems are most often designed for either the
research mathematician, or the student *to do calculations*.
For the purposes of assessment our calculation *establish some
relevant properties* of the students' answers. Establishing
properties in this way, and on the basis of this creating
outcomes such as feedback, is something particular to
assessment systems. Such properties include things like

- is the expression algebraically equivalent to the correct answer?
- is the expression fully simplified?
- is the expression written a particular conventional form, (e.g. factored, partial fraction)?
- are all the numbers in the expression written as fractions in the lowest terms?

We assume a certain amount of knowledge about Maxima when writing STACK questions.

## Tutorials for STACK users

- The documentation includes basic information on using Maxima with STACK.

A graphical Maxima interface like wxMaxima can be helpful for learning Maxima syntax and function names.

## Documentation on using Maxima in STACK

Information on specific mathematical topics are found below.

- Predicate functions, which are useful to test expressions.
- Numbers, including floating point and complex numbers.
- Simplification can be switched on and off in Maxima.
- Inequalities.
- Matrices and vectors.
- Differential equations.
- Statistics.
- Randomly generated objects.
- Plots and graphics.
- Buggy rules implements rules which are not always valid!

## Developer information, and other topics

- Setting up a STACK-Maxima sandbox for testing code on the desktop.
- Optimising Maxima.