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A System for Doing Mathematics by Computer

Mathematica is an interactive system for doing mathematical computation. It handles numeric, symbolic, and graphical calculations and incorporates a high-level programming language. There are two ways of starting the program:
math is a line-oriented interface which only starts the Mathematica kernel.
mathematica (or Mathematica) starts the full Mathematica system with its notebook front end.

Questions about Mathematica in general should be sent to NBI IT support. However, before you do so, read the following.


Mathematica can use the license in two ways, stand-alone or via a network license server. The actual program is the same. All desktops and servers should use the license server.

The license server is at It uses port 16286 and 16287. It is not reachable outside of the NBI firewalls unless you use VPN or some form for port forwarding. Machines using this server should have a fully qualified domain name for easy identification. When activating, click the button "Other ways to activate". Then select "Connect to a Network License Server" and enter

If you want to use Mathematica on a portable machine, read the information about our site license below.



Versions available on NBI machines:

  • 10.4.1 mathematica-prev
  • 11.0.1 mathematica
  • 11.1.0 mathematica-next


We are using Mathematica under a site license in conjunction with interested sister institutes at the University of Copenhagen. Anyone working at one of the participating institutes can thus install and use Mathematica on his/her personal computer, both at work and at home. Furthermore, one can use the license server as described above.

For stand-alone, start by requesting an activation key of type Single machine. You thus need one key per machine.

Users at NBI should login to the Wolfram register site. If you do not have a Wolfram ID you must create one. After login you should fill in your name and email address when so requested. You must use a Copenhagen University (or NBI) email address and not a possibly anonymous gmail, hotmail etc. address. The activation code will be sent to IT-support for approval. If the requestor can be identified the request will be accepted, otherwise you may contacted for further information.

Users not at NBI but at one of the participating institutes should send an email to Bjorn S. Nilsson

You should now fetch the appropriate installation file from our local Mathematica repository. Login with your KU id and corresponding password. Then use the standard procedure for your operative system to install. When you start Mathematica the first time you will be asked to enter the activation code obtained above.

Other versions

On NBI Linux machines possible beta- or test versions are started with the command Mathematica-next (math-next).The previous version may also be available as Mathematica-prev (math-prev).

License renewal

Our license is normally renewed in December for the following year. Valid laptop installations must then be reactivated. Start Mathematica and open the Help menu and Enter Activation Key. If you have a valid key this will be displayed whereafter you should click on the Activate button in the lower right corner.

Nvidia drivers

You may experience problems with Mathematica 9.0 and higher when using the Nvidia drivers on linux. Try running Mathematica with:

 mathematica -mesa

If that doesn't work, another solution is to use the nouveau driver.