Short Introduction to Wolfram’s Mathematica

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This auxiliary chapter is devoted to the simulation environment which is employed throughout the book for performing analytical and numerical simulations. It begins with a discussion of the characteristic features of Mathematica, which are important for various kinds of mechanical modeling including analytical studies, finite element schemes, etc. The main part of the chapter presents an overview of the language of Mathematica and of its functionality regarding symbolic and floating point computations, programming, linear algebra, graphical plotting as well as available numerical methods for solving algebraic and differential equations and finding local minima. Although not being an exhaustive tutorial for such a comprehensive computer system, this brief overview shall help an unprepared reader in understanding and working with the code of the simulations in the main part of the book.