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Introduction to Mathematica

Instructors: Nick Barton, Sebastian Novak




This short course will give a basic introduction to Mathematica.  This is a high-level language that is perhaps best known for symbolic computation, but which includes a comprehensive range of numerical, graphical and statistical resources. (see Its main disadvantage is that it is expensive – but IST Austria has a site licence that allows unlimited use.

The course will give an overview of what is available within Mathematica, and how to get started with the system.  The emphasis will be on data handling and visualization, but a basic introduction to other features will be given.


For download links and installation instructions, visit



Target audience

The main aim is to prepare first-year students for the core “Modelling” course, which will require them to use the computer to handle data. The core course does not require any specific programming language, and many students will already be familiar with one that is appropriate. For those who have little or no previous experience, Mathematica may be a suitable introduction.




No previous experience is assumed.




We will distribute take-home exercises that will be discussed in the exercise sessions. Grading (pass/fail) will be based on presenting your solutions during these sessions, and on classroom participation.

The make-up session will be offered for people who can't make it to the exercise sessions.


Schedule (subject to change)

Date Topic Location Time
Mon, Sept 21 Lecture Mondi 3 09:00am - 12:00pm
Wed, Sept 23 Lecture Mondi 3 09:00am - 12:00pm
Mon, Sept 28 Exercise Session Mondi 3 09:00am - 12:00pm
Wed, Sept 30 Canceled - -
Fri, Oct 09 Make-up session Mondi 1 01:00pm - 04:00pm


For the (hopefully) most recent version of the lecture notebook (including exercises), klick here!

To download the growth data needed for Exercise 4.2, klick here!

An example of something we actually use in our research group (simulate the evolution of a quantitative trait) can be found here.

The exercises and their solutions are here.