# Is this the classic debate of Matlab vs Mathematica for quants? Wilmott has great opinions!

(Last Updated On: August 23, 2010)

Is this the classic debate of Matlab vs Mathematica for quants? Wilmott has great opinions!

Here is a very classical debate. As I posted my thoughts on Matlab, I seem to be piss off of some old dude who built his whole business on Mathemtica and Java. Can you doh!?!? Here is some responses of the Matlab versus Mathematica debate from Wilmott:
For Mathematica:
Mathematica’s document-oriented front-end (programmable hierachical documents, called Mathematica notebooks) allows you for creating reports that look like a “paper” but work like “programs” (“typeset documents which can do math”).

There is a bit of a learning curve, but there are plenty of examples in the documentation and other publications, especially for displaying options pricing data.

Mathematica handles X and Y plot graphics is easier.
Symbolics computation gives Mathematica an edge over Matlab.
It offers C++, C#, or Java solvers to be linked in Mathematica code. This could be used in examples of numerical schemes to solve
– uniform expression model (the input language for the Mathematica kernel). It handles mathematical formulae, lists, logical expressions, graphics objects,.. with the same underlying structure

– task-oriented super functions, like NDSolve (for numerical DE solvers). It analyses the DE and selects the solver. You do not need to select from ode23, ode113, ….pdepe,.

Matlab:
Matlab is much faster than Mathematica. A comment was posted try doing a Monte Carlo simulation in both and see. The Matlab GUI is much better while the Matlab is better for general development as well.
Matlab is easier but Mathematica is more powerful

The Statistical toolbox has been described as a treasure trove. This is for PCA, decision trees, and more.
Matlabâ€™s compiler and parallel computing power offers a new look at Matlab as compared to Mathematica
Matlab can start simple with matrixes and gets into complex stuff like structures, pointers,
classes with private member functions

Some claim the data miner toolbox is the main workhorse of Matlab.
Matlab can compile into standardized components.
Matlab focuses on numerical computation. Mathematica focuses on symbolic computation.
We learned in business school that sunk costs (e.g., all the hair I’ve pulled out over Mathematica) shouldn’t influence future capital investment. Since I’m all over economic rationality, I’ll probably switch to Matlab rather than buying the next major release of Mathematica or any additional Mathematica add-ons. I do know that if I were making the same decision today, I’d value practical considerations over technical (and seldom used) capabilities. Hope this helps someone.

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