I transitioned from Excel to Python for running basic calculations and simulations a few months back. And it works great! Tons of great modules(matplotlib and numpy are a must) and more than anything its fast as hell. And by fast I mean 50 million points in a few secs and it can plot them without stuttering too!
True, it's not exactly a simulation tool, you've got to spend a little time thinking about how to run the simulation but once thats out of the way, it's all smooth sailing.
PS: I used PSoC Creator before and the line "which allows users to design their own Programmable System on a Chip and have it manufactured (that part costs)" is misleading. You can buy a generic PSoC 3/4/5 and program it with Creator i.e., it's all firmware(although that term actually encompasses a lot more when looking a PSoC) and no custom manufacturing is involved. The cool thing is you can always move stuff around and reprogram so it's pretty much like a custom SoC.
I've been using Octave for Galois Field arithmetic and I'm really happy with it. For some reason the script I wrote most recently takes 1/20th (!) as long to run on Octave than on Matlab. (It operates on BCH codes.) (I'm using Octave on the Mac.)
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