Some of what is written below is outdated.

The software used in class is pari and mwrank. Alternatively (and perhaps even better) you could use sage, which contains both pari and mwrank. To start the programs, type "sage", "gp" or "mwrank". If you want to use these programs from home or your own university, you basically have four options:

Checking if your university has the software installed.

You can try to start the software on any linux machine by typing "sage", "pari" or "mwrank" in a terminal. If the software is not installed and you want to use it, perhaps you could convince your systems administrator.

Installing the software on your own personal computer.

All three programs are completely free. You can obtain them from their web pages:

Logging in at the VU

Your account will expire about a week after the computer class. Until then, you can log in at the VU using an SSH client. In Linux or on a Mac, this is done by typing "ssh" in a terminal, where "username" should be replaced by the user name of the account we gave you. If you have a Windows computer, you will need to download an SSH client such as PuTTY first. In the SSH client, use your VU user name and password and the server

Using online versions of the software

Sage can be used online in a Mathematica/Maple-like notebook interface. See or Note that these web pages are usually slow.


An alternative to the software listed above is Magma. Magma is not free software, but can be used for free at To check if your university has it installed, type magma.