at: http://people.math.carleton.ca/~rhfischl

This site was last revised on 2016.12.01

You can contact me at rhf  AT  herz-fischler.ca

This page contains educational and computational material

Other educational material may be found at web.ncf.ca/en493.

The following link leads to my research page at http://herz-fischler.ca, which includes a list of my publications.


OCTAVE is the open-source equivalent of MATLAB and was developed at the University of Wisconsin starting the late 1980s (Octave was the name of a chemical engineering professor, Octave Levenspiel; nothing to do with music). They are constructed in different ways, but the basic OCTAVE commands are the same as those of MATLAB and OCTAVE will run programs written for MATLAB. In my opinion OCTAVE is a better language for students to learn because of the programming structure; whereas MATLAB ends loops, etc. with the same command "end", OCTAVE uses "for ... endfor", etc.

The following manual is a sixty page introduction, especially written for Student Linux, to using Octave for solving linear and polynomial equations, statistics, data analysis, an introduction to programming, graphing, "tossing coins on a computer" (simulation), etc. A special feature (section 01) is "A sample Octave session" which allows the student to rapidly learning the essential features (diaries, variable ...) of using Octave. Suggested excercises are included in each section and Octave sessions and programs are commented.

This booklet may be freely distributed for educational purposes.

An Introduction to Octave for High School and University Students:

An illustration of the power of Octave as a "transparent" programming language is given by the "pick a number" problem: We have k people in a group who are asked to pick a number from 1 to an integer n. We want to know the largest value of n so that the probability that at least two people pick the same number is at least p (e.g. p = .95 or .99). In the following code notice how closely the statements follow the mathematics and how high-level commands such as "prod( )" avoid the necessity of many loops.

The problem does not have a closed form solution, but by using estimates one can show that n increases approximately with the square of k . (See my upcoming article in Mathematics Magazine for details). See the tables for a quick reference sheet; for k =100 and p =.95, n = 1685! (try this in a large class and observe the reaction).

Octave code for "Pick a Number"     Tables for "Pick a Number"


STUDENT LINUX is a pre-configured version of PCLINUXOS with the KDE desktop. It is meant for students of mathematics, physics, computing and the naural sciences. It is "good to go" so that the student does not have to figure out which programs to install, then customize then .... . It contains OCTAVE, \TEX, \LATEX and various useful tools.

The following ISO files (2.6 GB) can be burned to a DVD and run either "live" (without installation) or installed (alone or as part of a dual-boot computer). A specially written shell file allows the user to create their own ISO file.

The ISO file may be freely distributed for educational purposes.



Since many students will be unfamiliar with running LINUX, I have written a series of information and learning tools:

Link to the various learning tools associated with STUDENT LINUX

All this material may be freely distributed for educational purposes.



A more advanced GRAPHVIZ example

To print exact dimension photographs, one can use PDFTEX

Thinking of drinking while doing calculus?