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Commonly Used:

OSU has site licenses for some, the others are free

  • Python running NumPy and SciPy provides a Matlab like experience (see below).
  • Labview (used for some of the instruments)
  • Microsoft Office (includes a home use agreement that allows faculty and grads to get a $10 package for a home computer)
  • Sigmaplot (scientific spreadsheet)

A full list of OSU licensed software is available at


Python 2.X has been used to create an open source version of MatLab. The key to getting Python to act like MatLab is to

  1. Download and Install Python 2.X
  2. Download and Install the appropriate version of NumPy (it will automatically detect Python)
  3. Download and Install the appropriate version of SciPy (it will automatically detect Python)

Windows: Often, the easiest way for Windows users to have these tools installed is to use the Python(x,y) package which includes the above modules and many other tools including a very helpful editor/development environment named Spyder which itself runs in python and is available for most platforms.

MacOS: A basic python distribution is installed in later version macos, however, to install numpy and spyder the Macports system is highly recommended. One difficulty with this solution is that you must be a little familiar with working on the commandline.

Linux: See your distribution specific installer.


*Some content courtesy the Minote Research Group (Oregon State University)