The use of symbolic computing makes it easy to visualize and solve problems that were otherwise dry and would put you to sleep. To test the simplicity of a freely available tool called maxima, I tried to solve a common problem with it.
The problem is quite simple, remember high school physics? Well I don't :-). Consider a tuning fork, which oscillates and produces a sound (depending on it's frequency).
We start by entering the mathematical model of the fork
'm*diff(x(t), t, 2)=-k*x(t);
We now request maxima to solve the equation for us by
Is k * m positive, negative, or zero? We say positive
We ask maxima to simplify the result for us
That's it, we have our solution.