Maxima (software)

Maxima (/ˈmæksɪmə/) is a computer algebra system (CAS) based on a 1982 version of Macsyma. It is written in Common Lisp and runs on all POSIX platforms such as macOS, Unix, BSD, and Linux, as well as under Microsoft Windows and Android. It is free software released under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Screenshot of Maxima, plotting the 2D graph of a function with the gnuplot-x11 package running on Ubuntu Linux
Screenshot of Maxima, plotting the 2D graph of a function with the gnuplot-x11 package running on Ubuntu Linux
Developer(s)Macsyma group at Project MAC and volunteer contributors
Initial release1982; 38 years ago (1982)
Stable release
5.44.0 / 8 June 2020; 2 months ago (2020-06-08)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inCommon Lisp
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeMathematical software


Maxima is based on a 1982 version of Macsyma, which was developed at MIT with funding from the United States Department of Energy and other government agencies. A version of Macsyma was maintained by Bill Schelter from 1982 until his death in 2001. In 1998, Schelter obtained permission from the Department of Energy to release his version under the GPL. That version, now called Maxima, is maintained by an independent group of users and developers. Maxima does not include any of the many modifications and enhancements made to the commercial version of Macsyma during 1982–1999. Though the core functionality remains similar, code depending on these enhancements may not work on Maxima, and bugs which were fixed in Macsyma may still be present in Maxima, and vice versa.


Maxima includes a complete programming language with ALGOL-like syntax but Lisp-like semantics. It is written in Common Lisp and can be accessed programmatically and extended, as the underlying Lisp can be called from Maxima. It uses gnuplot for drawing.

Numeric calculationsEdit

Maxima is a full-featured CAS that specializes in symbolic operations, but it also offers numerical capabilities[1] such as arbitrary-precision arithmetic: integers and rational numbers that can grow to sizes limited only by machine memory, and floating-point numbers whose precision can be set arbitrarily large ("bfloats").

For calculations using floating point and arrays heavily, Maxima offers the possibility of generating code in other programming languages (notably Fortran), which may execute more efficiently.

Maxima is a general-purpose system, and special-case calculations such as factorization of large numbers, manipulation of extremely large polynomials, etc. are sometimes better done in specialized systems.


Screenshot of the wxMaxima interface for Maxima

Various graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are available for Maxima:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Barnes, David J. & Chu, Dominique (2010). "Chapter 5". Introduction to Modeling for Biosciences. Springer. ISBN 978-1-84996-325-1.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Cantor". Retrieved 2020-01-15.
  5. ^ "Kayali download". SourceForge. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  6. ^ "Flathub—An app store and build service for Linux". Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  7. ^ Mårtenson, Elias (2019-08-27), GitHub - lokedhs/maxima-client: Maxima client., retrieved 2019-09-27

Further readingEdit

  • Timberlake, Todd Keene; Mixon, Jr., J. Wilson (2015). Classical Mechanics with Maxima. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4939-3206-1.

External linksEdit