Sage provides a unified interface to the best computational software. This is accomplished using both C-libraries (see C/C++ Library Interfaces) and interpreter interfaces, which are implemented using pseudo-tty’s, system files, etc. This chapter is about these interpreter interfaces.

Note

Each interface requires that the corresponding software is installed on your computer. Sage includes GAP, PARI, Singular, and Maxima, but does not include Octave (very easy to install), MAGMA (non-free), Maple (non-free), or Mathematica (non-free).

There is overhead associated with each call to one of these
systems. For example, computing `2+2` thousands of times using
the GAP interface will be slower than doing it directly in
Sage. In contrast, the C-library interfaces of
C/C++ Library Interfaces
incur less overhead.

In addition to the commands described for each of the interfaces
below, you can also type e.g., `%gap`,
`%magma`, etc., to directly interact with a given
interface in its state. Alternatively, if `X` is an
interface object, typing `X.interact()` allows you to
interact with it. This is completely different than
`X.console()` which starts a complete new copy of
whatever program `X` interacts with. Note that the
input for `X.interact()` is handled by Sage, so the
history buffer is the same as for Sage, tab completion is as for
Sage (unfortunately!), and input that spans multiple lines must be
indicated using a backslash at the end of each line. You can pull
data into an interactive session with `X` using
`sage(expression)`.

The console and interact methods of an interface do very different things. For example, using gap as an example:

`gap.console()`: You are completely using another program, e.g., gap/magma/gp Here Sage is serving as nothing more than a convenient program launcher, similar to bash.`gap.interact()`: This is a convenient way to interact with a running gap instance that may be “full of” Sage objects. You can import Sage objects into this gap (even from the interactive interface), etc.

The console function is very useful on occasion, since you get the exact actual program available (especially useful for tab completion and testing to make sure nothing funny is going on).

- Common Interface Functionality through Pexpect
- Interface to Axiom
- Interface to 4ti2 (http://www.4ti2.de)
- Interface to GAP
- Interface to GAP3
- Interface to the GP calculator of PARI/GP
- Interface to the Gnuplot interpreter
- Interface to KASH
- Interface to Magma
- Interface to Maple
- Interface to MATLAB
- Pexpect interface to Maxima
- Library interface to Maxima
- Interface to Mathematica
- Interface to mwrank
- Interface to GNU Octave
- Interface to R
- Interface to Sage
- Interface to Singular
- The Tachyon Ray Tracer
- Interface for extracting data and generating images from Jmol readable files.