**Pump up the func**

I've mentioned previously that I have been experimenting with some PBPK and enzymology modeling on a Ti89. This was my first exposure to anything that allows you to work digitally with symbolic mathematics. I must have been looking too awestruck as a colleague has allowed me to play with their installations of Mathematica (not seen it before) and MATLAB (only seen very old versions previously), just to expand my horizons. They are both very cool but have way too much functionality for my needs. At first glance the capabilities of Mathematica appear to be a superset of MATLAB (although the latter likely has the edge for matrix manipulation). I've started trying to move some of my models into the two packages. MATLAB looks as if it could handily replace some of my more clunky spreadsheets, where I'm using discrete methods, as I can turn the columns into lists and functions. Scanning Mathematica's abilities suggests that I could come up with more general analytical models, and that is very appealing. I see that there are some free alternatives but I don't know if any of them could cope with the uses I have in mind (I was aware of

`octave`but have never used it).