A Computer Algebra system is a type of software package that is used in manipulation of
mathematical formulae. The primary goal of a Computer Algebra system is to automate tedious and sometimes difficult algebraic manipulation tasks. The principal difference between a Computer Algebra system and a traditional calculator is the ability to deal with equations symbolically rather than numerically. The specific uses and capabilities of these systems vary greatly from one system to another, yet the purpose remains the same: manipulation of symbolic equations. Computer Algebra systems often include facilities for graphing equations and provide a programming language for the user to define his/her own procedures.
Computer Algebra systems have not only changed how mathematics is taught at many universities, but have provided a flexible tool for mathematicians worldwide. Examples of popular systems include Maple, Mathematica, and MathCAD. Computer Algebra systems can be used to simplify rational functions, factor polynomials, find the solutions to a system of equation, and various other manipulations. In Calculus, they can be used to find the limit of, symbolically integrate, and differentiate arbitrary equations.
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