Arguably the most important software tool for a mathematics student is the computer algebra system (CAS). No other software puts so much mathematical potential into a single tool.

A computer algebra system is a program with which you can perform calculations, evaluate functions, create graphics, and develop your own programs. The key feature of computer algebra systems is the ability to manipulate expressions symbolically. Typical manipulations possible in a CAS include simplifying expressions, factoring, taking derivatives, computing integrals (symbolically and numerically), and solving systems of equations. This chapter explores the basics of three popular computer algebra systems, and it contains simple examples for you to try.