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MATHLAB is a Computer algebra system created in 1964 by Carl Engelman at MITRE. It was written in LISP and could be run run on any computer with a LISP interpreter.

In 1967 a new Version "MATHLAB 68" was ready. It became rather popular in university environments running on DECs PDP-6 and PDP-10 with operating systems TENEX or TOPS-10. 1969 this version was included in the DECUS (Decs User Group) library (as 10-142) and could be used without paying royalties. Today this version is still operational on the SIMH emulation of the PDP-10 running even on personal computers.

Carl Engelman left MITRE in 1968 for Symbolics were he contributed his expert knowledge in the development of Macsyma.

Features of MATHLAB 68[edit]

Abstract from DECUS Library Catalog:
"MATHLAB is an on-line system providing machine aid for the mechanical symbolic processes encountered in analysis. It is capable of performing, automatically and symbolically, such common procedures as simplification, substitution, differentiation, polynomial factorization, indefinite integration, direct and inverse Laplace transforms, the solution of linear differential equations with constant coefficients, the solution of simultaneous linear equations, and the inversion of matrices. It also supplies fairly elaborate bookkeeping facilities appropriate to its on-line operation."


  • Engelman, Carl (1965). MATHLAB: A Program for On-Line Assistance in Symbolic Computations. Proc. 1965 FJCC. Spartan Books, Washington, D.C. 
  • Engelman, Carl (1969). "MATHLAB 68". In A.J.H. Morrell. Information Processing 68. North-Holland, Amsterdam. pp. 462–467. 
  • Carl Engelman, The legacy of MATHLAB 68, Proceedings of the second ACM symposium on Symbolic and algebraic manipulation, p.29-41, March 23-25, 1971, Los Angeles, California, United States.
  • Engelman, C., MATHLAB Manual, M71-103, The MITRE Corporation, Bedford, Mass., 1971.