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Mathematica (General Package)

This includes data manipulation tools.

Functionality Background Licence availability, restrictions &
links to distributor

Mathematica is a general purpose mathematical analysis and calculation package. It supports the development and evaluation of virtually any mathematical calculation, including, of course, statistical calculations.

However, it is not a purpose-built statistical package. Most statistical analyses can be conducted ‘from first principles’. Includes some built-in functions for multivariate statistical approaches, and claims to allow calculations of probabilities and expectations for over 100 different forms of distribution.

MATLAB has a strong focus on matrix calculations, whilst Mathematica is focused more on computer algebra approaches.

Mathematica was developed by Stephen Wolfram who had a vision of developing a mathematical calculation engine embedded in a live notebook interface. Essentially the user writes a notebook (think of a research paper or a student text), but the mathematics, graphics and data in the text are live. Change any element and the notebook recalculates.

Supplied by Wolfram Research. Site licence allows staff and students use at home and on University-owned machines. The software can be downloaded from the Warwick tree, with further details at:

Mathematica is marketed by Wolfram Research:

The website contains many support and training tools and a list of several textbooks that introduce Mathematica to a range of audiences and disciplines.

General Purpose Packages which have some Statistical Functionality

These packages are not basically designed for statistical analysis, but all have some statistical functionality and some, being mathematical tools, pretty much allow you to write any statistical analysis from scratch. But we would generally advise using packages that were designed primarily for statistical analysis since their functionality will generally have been tested and verified for statistical purposes. If you write your own calculations in a mathematical calculation tool, you risk miscoding the statistical technique and drawing poor or completely wrong inferences.

Please share your experiences and examples of how you have used this software by leaving a comment below, to help others choose the right software for their research requirements.