A Month of Math Software – April 2011

May 1st, 2011 | Categories: math software, Month of Math Software | Tags:

Welcome to the slightly delayed 4th edition of ‘A Month of Math Software’.  If you have some math software news that you’d like including in a future edition then let me know.  Previous articles can be found in the archive.


Wolfram Research have acquired a company called MathCore Engineering AB – http://www.mathcore.com/.  The practical upshot of this is that we can expect future Mathematica versions to contain Simulink-like functionality.  Wolfram’s press-release is at http://www.wolfram.com/news/mathcoreaquired.html and Stephen Wolfram spoke about this at http://blog.wolfram.com/2011/03/30/launching-a-new-era-in-large-scale-systems-modeling/.

Commercial releases

MATLAB 2011a was released by The Mathworks earlier this month.  There have been a lot of changes around various toolboxes along with the usual performance enhancements and so on.  I’ll be doing a write up of it at some point but, for now, here are the release highlights .

Maplesoft’s Maple has seen a new major version.  Maple 15 has got lots of new goodies.  Check them out at http://www.maplesoft.com/products/maple/new_features/ which includes lots of examples of how Maple 15 is better than previous versions (and, in some cases, the competition).

The popular data analysis and plotting application, Origin, has seen an upgrade to version 8.5.1.  The what’s new list is at http://www.originlab.com/index.aspx?go=Products/Origin&PID=1750 This package is a firm favourite of users at my workplace, The University of Manchester.  It’s just a shame that it is Windows only.  Ho hum!

HSL 2011 has been released; the first major release in 4 years.  From the website: “HSL (formerly the Harwell Subroutine Library) is a collection of state-of-the-art packages for large-scale scientific computation written and developed by the Numerical Analysis Group at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and other experts.” Although this is a commercial library, it is free for academic use.

I’ve been writing ‘A month of Math Software’ for four months now and you can always rely on the commercial computational algebra system, Magma, to supply us with some news.  The v2.17-6 release change log is at http://magma.maths.usyd.edu.au/magma/releasenotes/2/17/7/

Open Source releases

One of the most powerful statistical programming languages in existence, R, has seen a new major release.  Version 2.13 was released on April 13th.  One of the biggest new developments is a new bytecode compiler for R which has been demonstrated and benchmarked over at Thinking Inside the Box.  The huge list of changes is available in the NEWS file.

Maxima, the free open source computer algebra system for Windows, Mac and Linux, was upgraded to version 5.24 earlier this month.  The changelog is available at http://maxima.cvs.sourceforge.net/viewvc/maxima/maxima/ChangeLog-5.24

  1. Joe
    May 3rd, 2011 at 14:47
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Can you cover Maple 15 features and how does it steer in the competition (especailly compared to MMA 8). My instructor preferes MMA but we are free to choose anyone among these two.

  2. May 3rd, 2011 at 16:37
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Hi Joe

    Is there anything in particular that you are interested in or just a general comparison?


  3. Joe
    May 4th, 2011 at 09:35
    Reply | Quote | #3

    @Mike Croucher
    I guess a general comparison would suffice. Being a material science student my primary usage would be (but not limited to) plotting, spectral analysis, and occasional image processing. Occasionaly I would love toying with prototyping few things/concepts. I started learning programming with procedural language (C -only introductory knowledge) and now clearly struggling with MMA syntax.

  4. May 6th, 2011 at 12:13
    Reply | Quote | #4

    If I ever upgrade to Maple 15 myself then I’ll do my best :)