Mathematica And Wolfram On The Raspberry Pi

[Stephen Wolfram], possibly the only person on Earth who wants a second element named after him, is giving away Mathematica for the Raspberry Pi.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mathematica, it’s a piece of software that allows you to compute anything. Combined with the educational pedigree of the Raspberry Pi, [Wolfram] and the Pi foundation believe the use of computer-based math will change the way students are taught math.

Besides bringing a free version of Mathematica to the Raspberry Pi, [Wolfram] also announced the Wolfram language. It’s a programming language that keeps most of its libraries – for everything from audio processing, high level math, strings, graphs, networks, and even linguistic data – on the Internet. It sounds absurdly cool, and you can check out a preliminary version of the language over on the official site.

While a free version of Mathematica is awesome, we’re really excited about the new Wolfram language. If it were only an interactive version of Wolfram Alpha, we’d be interested, but the ability to use this tool as a real programming language shows a lot of promise for some interesting applications.

27 thoughts on “Mathematica And Wolfram On The Raspberry Pi

  1. There’s an incredible project called sagemath, which was always available for raspberry pi, and uses a kick-ass high-level programming language called python. Check it out at

  2. I use Mathematica on much more powerful hardware than the Raspberry Pi and it can be very slow. I’d imagine the Raspberry Pi might be 100 times slower than a modern desktop processor? You might get quite quickly frustrated once you start doing anything serious as a result.

    I wish they would just make it free for home/hobbyist use.

      1. Yep, SAGE is the closest I have found to Mathematica. Unfortunately, largely because they are used less, examples and documentation are nowhere near as good. The point still stands – rather than make is free on the Pi (which is underpowered for this kind of stuff), what not just make it free for home/hobbyist use?

    1. There’s no way the rPI cpu is that slow compared to a modern desktop cpu. It runs reasonably full featured OSs that are completely modern quite comfortably. That said the ARM11 cpu was released almost 12 years ago (2002) so I can imagine there are certain things that it really lags behind in.

        1. Yeah 10 might be fair, maybe even a bit more than that depending on what you compare it to. In terms of MIPS the rPI isn’t quite 10 times less than modern processors (I believe it’s a bit over 600 for a 600MHz ARM11) but I’m not even sure if it has a FPU outside the GPU, and the FLOPS will be a lot lower either way. Sequential HD speed will be lower since it uses an SD hard (unless you go for a class 6+ card) but the latency will be way better which may help reduce the effects of that.

          1. I guess my point really was… I find my fast computer slow for some of these things, so think it would be very slow on the Raspberry Pi. I wish I could have Mathematica for free on whatever hardware, I’m using it the same….

  3. RaspPi is a lot faster than some of the PC’s I used to run Mathematica on (486DX33 Win3.1 with a whopping 1MB of RAM), so it is likely usable… just don’t expect to do state-of-the-art research on it (but likely very good for middle- and high-school projects or for the casual user).

  4. I got it going and it runs fairly well. Symbolic computations are zippy and simple numerical stuff runs quickly. Graphics are slow, even basic plotting, but it’s a heck of a step up from the TI-89!

  5. I’ve run it a bit, too. The overhead for the graphics is a bit too much for it. I think it will work better once wayland is supported on the raspi, but until then, it’s so slow it makes me want to cry. The WL command line language, on the other hand, is pretty neat, and quite fast. I don’t know about what was said about keeping their libraries on the Internet. What I do know is that 1) it offers GPIO access in single functions, and 2) it can use stdin as input and write to stdout, so I think it’s still a step in the right direction. I use mathematica a lot for my studies, and the pi will never replace running mathematica on an i7 with 32 GB of memory, but it’s still cool!

  6. Can it handle a program that can possibly do prime factorization in polymonial time? If it can, maybe I’ll be really impressed. I know, I have high standards, blame my teachers.

  7. I’m trying to not be cynical about this, but it’s hard when it has Wolfram’s name all over it. Wolfram is an extremely smart guy, but he’s also a complete charlatan and egomaniac. This is a man who literally thinks he invented “A New Kind of Science.” Anything he does is because he has ulterior motives. Students very, very, very rarely buy software like Mathematica themselves. Universities buy it. But hey, if you can get younger people hooked on it on a completely useless (for PhD-level research that is, not knocking the Pi here) platform, then you’ve built mindshare. It reminds me of Bill Gates saying something to the effect of “if people people are going to pirate software, it might as well be ours.” The difference is, I actually like Bill Gates.

  8. Will be sad to see the side effect: a new generation of kids locked into a proprietary application/language which they and institutions then have to buy to run on more powerful hardware for “real” use. Education should focus on “real” use already.

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