Using Built in Functions in Mathematica

There are thousands of thousands of built in functions in mathematica. Knowing a few dozen of the more important will help to do lots of neat calculations. Memorizing the names of the most of the functions is not too hard as approximately all of the built in functions in mathematica follow naming convention (i.e. name of functions are related to objective of their functionality), for example, Abs function is for absolute value, Cos function is for Cosine and Sqrt is for square root of a number. The important thing than memorizing  the function names is remembering the syntax needed to use built-in function. Remembering many of built in (built-in) mathematica functions will not only make it easier to follow programs but also enhance own programming skills too.

Some important and widely used built in functions in Mathematica are

  • Sqrt[ ]:   used to find the square root of a number
  • N[ ]:   used for numerical evaluation of any mathematical expression e.g. N[Sqrt[27]]
  • Log[  ]: used to find the log base 10 of a number
  • Sin[  ]: used to find trigonometric function Sin
  • Abs[  ]: used to find the absolute value of a number

Common built in functions in Mathematica includes

  1. Trignometric functions and their inverses
  2. Hyperbolic functions and their inverses
  3. logarithm and exponential functions

Every built-in function in Mathematica has two very important features

  • All built-in function in methematica begins with Capital letters, such as for square root we use Sqrt, for inverse cosine we use ArCos built-in function.
  • Square brackets are always used to surround the input or argument of a function.

For computing absolute value -12, write on command prompt Abs[-12]  instead of for example Abs(-12) or Abs{-12} etc i.e.   Abs[-12] is valid command for computing absolute value of -12.

Note that:

In mathematica single square brackets are used for input in a function, double square brackets [[ and ]] are used for lists and parenthesis ( and ) are used to group terms in algebraic expression while curly brackets { and } are used to delimit lists. The three sets of delimiters [ ], ( ), { } are used for functions, algebraic expression and list respectively.

For introduction to Mathematica