In recent years several types of computer software have become available that

allow algebra and calculus to be performed symbolically on a computer. In

general, this is called computer algebra software, though its capabilities ex-

tend far beyond purely algebraic operations. Such software can plot graphs

in two and three dimensions to allow the geometrical properties of functions

to be explored; it can be used to understand limiting operations in calculus,

to perform differentiation and integration in symbolic form, as would be

done with pencil and paper, and it can solve differential equations. By removing the possible introduction of errors in problems in which a solution

using pencil and paper would involve tiresome and prohibitively lengthy

calculations, computer algebra software also makes it possible to solve rea-

listic problems in the physical sciences very early on in their study.