Python package simplifies algebraic equations

Programming Snapshot – SymPy

© Lead Image © Andrea Danti,

© Lead Image © Andrea Danti,

Article from Issue 248/2021

Whether he's filling the bathtub with water or routing electricity through resistors – Mike Schilli juggles mathematical formulas with the assistance of the Python SymPy package.

I still remember a traumatic event as an elementary school student: A weekend newspaper had set a logic puzzle for kids, the solution of which it promised to publish in the next issue a week later. It involved a bathtub with two taps: one of which filled the tub in 10 minutes, the other in 15. The question was how long would it take to fill the tub if both taps were turned on all the way.

As a little boy, I was absolutely sure that 10 plus 15 equals 25, which is 25 minutes. My father laughed and suggested that couldn't be true, because two taps would fill the bathtub faster than one alone. The next weekend, I was initially triumphant, because there it was – printed in black and white in the following issue – the confirmation that 25 minutes was the correct solution.

But disillusionment followed one week later: After receiving angry reader comments, the newspaper had to admit that it had made a mistake, because it does not take 25 minutes, but only 6 minutes, to fill the tub with both taps. I nearly fell off my chair and decided at that point to become a famous columnist peddling logic puzzles.


Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Maxima

    This free algebra tool helps you keep ahead of the calculations.

  • Gnumeric

    OpenOffice Calc is fine for most spreadsheet applications, but if you’re looking for better performance and a smaller footprint, try Calc’s lean competitor, Gnumeric.

  • Unmasking Fake Flash Memory

    When it comes to cheap flash memory, buyers should beware. Fake flash memory often offers only a fraction of the advertised storage capacity. With no visible calibration mark, it isn't easy to discover a counterfeit. Here's a test to weed out fake disks.

  • Automated Irrigation

    An automated watering system comprising a Raspberry Pi Zero W, an analog-to-digital converter, and an inexpensive irrigation kit can help keep your potted plants from dying of thirst.

  • Perl: Skydiving Simulation

    Computer game programmers apply physical formulas and special tricks to create realistic animations. Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL), which is available as a Perl wrapper, provides a powerful framework for creating simple 2D worlds with just a couple of lines of code.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95