Help Desk

Computing & Information Services

Mathematica Mathematica Icon

Installation Instructions for Students

Students can install Mathematica on a personal computer and use it on or off campus.

  1. Create a Wolfram portal account using your address:
  2. Once your account is created and have validated your email address, request an activation key and download link from the Wolfram website.

Installation Instructions for Faculty

Faculty who want to run Mathematica from off campus can fill out a request form at You will need to specify the following information:

  • Which type of license you need: a new home-use license or an upgrade to an existing home-use license
  • Reed's site license number. Please contact CUS to obtain it.
  • Your contact information
  • Proof of eligibility. Select the option, 'My status can be verified via our online staff directory...,' and enter the URL:
  • How you want to receive a copy of Mathematica: via download or CD
  • Platform: Mac, Windows, or Linux

If you have any questions, call or email CUS (x7525).

Running Mathematica in the IRCs

Click on the Applications icon on the dock - then find and double-click on the Mathematica icon.

Why Won't Mathematica Run?

Mathematica is run off of a central server, so when you run Mathematica, you are actually running a terminal. If your computer is not plugged into the Reed network, you cannot run Mathematica, and will get an error informing you of this. You may have to reconnect your ethernet connection and restart. If, however, you know that your connection is working, it may be possible that the Mathematica KeyAccess server is down. If this is the case, no one on campus would be able to run Mathematica from any computer until the server is restarted. You can call Computer User Services (x7525) or send an e-mail and inform them that it needs to be restarted.

Using Mathematica

Mathematica opens with two windows. On the left side of the screen is the input window that can evaluate basic expressions. Type in a mathematical expression in the usual notation, say 4 + 6 / 2 - 9. Then hold down Shift and hit Return. Mathematica returns the value of the expression.

The window on the right side of the screen contains mathematical symbols that do not appear on the keyboard. For example, to evaluate a square root, click on the Mathematica: Square Root button. In the input window, a square root will show up with a box underneath. Simply type in a number or an expression and hit Shift-Return.

For more detailed guidance on using Mathematica, expand the Help menu and select Tutorial. The tutorial will take you through the basics of Mathematica and includes graphing and symbolic computation.

To see the key features of Mathematica in action, watch the screencast prepared by Wolfram.

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