Focus on Math, Statistics and Data Analysis

Article excerpt

This month's Focus On will highlight the latest releases in the high-end math category, including statistics, data analysis and graphing packages. We've also included an interesting astronomy package. Enjoy.

Macsyma 2.2 is a powerful computing package billed as "friendly math software." Used extensively in the engineering and medical fields, Macsyma is also surprisingly easy to use, according to customers and reviewers. For example, Dr. Edward Purich, adjunct professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the Uniform Services School of the Health Sciences (USSHS) in Washington, D.C., claims that Macsyma offers his students "the opportunity to visualize the pharmacokinetic process but require minimal mathematical experience."

Part of the program's renowned ease-of-use comes from its ability to answer plain-English questions. It responds to these questions with MathTips, letting users solve many types of problems without needing to learn command names or syntax. For more in-depth information on Macsyma 2.2, visit the firm's Web site, listed in this article's Company Directory.

Waterloo Maple's well-known and widely-used Maple V is now available in Release 5, which incorporates Open Math concepts, furthering Waterloo

Maple's vision of a technical computing environment where educators and students need learn only one interface to interact with a large number of commercially available packages. Maple V Release 5 includes many new visualization tools, along with the ability to publish Maple V worksheets as HTML pages. New palettes containing Greek symbols and mathematical instructions such as integrals, limits, summations, square roots and powers make it easy to enter expressions. Also, context-sensitive menus let you click on an expression to reveal operations that apply to that expression.

Additionally, Maple V lets you create spreadsheets within the program, and offers 3D plotting functions. On top of all this, the program's user interface has been simplified, adding drag-and-drop functionality. Maple V is available for Windows, Macintosh, UNIX and Linux platforms.

FindAns 1.0, from Bradbury Software Enterprises (BSE), is a complete mathematics package and scientific word processor that combines high-level computational power with advanced drawing and word processing capabilities. It features over 50 math tools that help with calculus, trigonometry, geometry, vectors, complex systems of equations and more.

FindAns functions include angles, arcs, derivatives, ellipses, irregular polygons, line segments, vectors and many others. The software's interface lets you easily express virtually any quantitative idea requiring math symbols. Visit BSE's Web site for more details.

From Wolfram Research, Mathematica 3.0.1 has had some enhancements worthy of mentioning. Almost all kernel operations under Windows 95/NT have seen major speed increases. Several new types of integrals have been added; new transformations have also been added, as have new sum types; a new algorithm makes it much faster to pick up random integers from very large ranges; and the software now boasts Japanese language compatibility, which automatically kicks in when the program recognizes you are running a Japanese operating system.

Mathematica 3.0.1 also features new notebook interface enhancements, printing enhancements and systems-level enhancements, including memory management. Browse to www.wolfram.com/look/3.0.1/ for the complete scoop on this latest version.

Statistics, Data Analysis & More

MINITAB Statistical Software, Release 12, should be available by the time you read this. For those who are unfamiliar with MINITAB, it is a comprehensive statistics package used for teaching statistics and also in the professional world by, engineers and quality professionals.

This new release promises multiple worksheets, easy subsetting and a new project file format, which will let you save an entire work session -- including graphs, data and statistical output -- for later use. …