Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Wolfram Research Releases Mathematica 7

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-installing-it-would-make-me-feel-dumber dept.

Math 234

mblase writes "Wolfram Research has released the seventh version of Mathematica, and it does a lot more than symbolic algebra. New features range from things as simple as cut-and-paste integration with Microsoft Word's Equation Editor to instant 3D models of mathematical objects to the most expensive clone of Photoshop ever. Full suites of genome, chemical, weather, astronomical, financial, and geodesic data (or support for same) is designed to make Mathematica as invaluable for scientific research as it is for mathematics."

cancel ×

234 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Slashvertisement (5, Insightful)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820043)

"[It] is designed to make Mathematica as invaluable for scientific research as it is for mathematics." Cut down the advertising please. Or at least advertize some free software. It's been a while since I needes a computer algebra system. How are the free alternatives coming along? Any recommendations?

Maxima (5, Informative)

Brain-Fu (1274756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820533)

Maxima [sourceforge.net] is released under the GPL.

Re:Maxima (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821713)

Maxima also sucks. Here's a session from just this afternoon.

[omf@midgar 14:45:36 ~]$ maxima
Maxima 5.13.0 http://maxima.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
Using Lisp GNU Common Lisp (GCL) GCL 2.6.8 (aka GCL)
Distributed under the GNU Public License. See the file COPYING.
Dedicated to the memory of William Schelter.
This is a development version of Maxima. The function bug_report()
provides bug reporting information.
(%i1) Q=matrix.... .....

(%i11) Q.T.transpose(Q);
(%o11) matrix([cos(t) (cos(t) T11 - sin(t) T12)
  - sin(t) (cos(t) T21 - sin(t) T22), cos(t) (cos(t) T12 + sin(t) T11)
  - sin(t) (cos(t) T22 + sin(t) T21), cos(t) T13 - sin(t) T23],
[cos(t) (cos(t) T21 - sin(t) T22) + sin(t) (cos(t) T11 - sin(t) T12),
cos(t) (cos(t) T22 + sin(t) T21) + sin(t) (cos(t) T12 + sin(t) T11),
cos(t) T23 + sin(t) T13], [cos(t) T31 - sin(t) T32, cos(t) T32 + sin(t) T31,
T33])
(%i12) trigsimp(%);
Universal error handler called recursively (:ERROR NIL
CONDITIONS::CLCS-UNIVERSAL-ERROR-HANDLER
""
  "Couldn't protect")
Universal error handler called recursively (:ERROR NIL
CONDITIONS::CLCS-UNIVERSAL-ERROR-HANDLER
"" "Couldn't protect")
Maxima encountered a Lisp error:

  Error in CONDITIONS::CLCS-UNIVERSAL-ERROR-HANDLER [or a callee]: Caught fatal error [memory may be damaged]

Automatically continuing.
To reenable the Lisp debugger set *debugger-hook* to nil.
(%i13) Q.trigsimp(T.transpose(Q));
(%o13) matrix([cos(t) (cos(t) T11 - sin(t) T12)
  - sin(t) (cos(t) T21 - sin(t) T22), cos(t) (cos(t) T12 + sin(t) T11)
  - sin(t) (cos(t) T22 + sin(t) T21), cos(t) T13 - sin(t) T23],
[cos(t) (cos(t) T21 - sin(t) T22) + sin(t) (cos(t) T11 - sin(t) T12),
cos(t) (cos(t) T22 + sin(t) T21) + sin(t) (cos(t) T12 + sin(t) T11),
cos(t) T23 + sin(t) T13], [cos(t) T31 - sin(t) T32, cos(t) T32 + sin(t) T31,
T33])
(%i14) trigsimp(Q.trigsimp(T.transpose(Q)));
Segmentation fault
[omf@midgar 14:48:25 ~]$

Computer algebra systems are not the best to begin with, but Maxima has a very, very long way to go before it can compete with Mathematica. Most of my analytical work on a daily basis is done using Maxima and I can safely say that the program could be a lot better than it currently is.

Re:Slashvertisement (4, Interesting)

Flying Scotsman (1255778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820579)

How are the free alternatives coming along? Any recommendations?

I've used Maxima [sourceforge.net] with good results. Not quite Mathematica, though.

Re:Slashvertisement (4, Informative)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821505)

For what it does, Maxima is pretty good. It's fairly easy to use compared to the other big free alternative. That being said, it is fairly limited compared to Mathematica, Maple or Sage. If you need it to be free and need more features, check out sage (www.sagemath.org) but don't expect to produce anything useful in the first minute. If you're looking for a basic accessible CAS, then Sage wouldn't be the answer. In that case, Maxima might do it for you. Sage is more useful for people who need a more robust system, but I have often found I can write my own tools faster than I can do it in some of the free alternatives.

Re:Slashvertisement (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820715)

does it matter that it's open source or not? Open source is not inherently better than closed source.

Not saying open source is bad (AMP stack over IIS any day is one of the best foss examples), but it's also not a metric for quality either (MS Office is definitely better than OpenOffice... well, for now anyways).

So you call on slashdot to cut down on advertising, I call on slashdot to cut down on religious advocates. Use whats best, and if Mathematica puts open source alternatives to shame... so be it.

Re:Slashvertisement (5, Insightful)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821215)

does it matter that it's open source or not? Open source is not inherently better than closed source.

Being able to show exactly which steps a CAS went through to arrive at a solution can be important. With Mathematica, you have to trust that the methods they use, which you can't see, are legitimate and don't introduce any unforeseen error.
I don't mean to pooh-pooh Mathematica; it's an excellent program. But being able to show 100% of your work has intrinsic value.

Re:Slashvertisement (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821919)

With Mathematica, you have to trust that the methods they use, which you can't see, are legitimate and don't introduce any unforeseen error.

Absolutely.

I work on pretty much a daily basis with computer algebra systems. In my work, I am using CAS systems to perform integrals on what would be otherwise an unmanageable amount of equations, in order to generate some nice neat, but still quite large matrices. Despite its obvious technical inferiority [slashdot.org] , I'm using Maxima to do this. A lot of this has to do with running Mathematica and the like on Linux, which is a painful process, but the peer reviewable nature of an open source system is another major factor.

I've said this before, but essentially Mathematica is the modern mathematical Oracle at Delphi; arcane, totally inscrutable, and regarded by almost everyone as infallible. You cannot use its results professional for anything other than integral tables or the like. At least, not in mathematics. Maybe physicists use it, but I'd have my doubts. (Engineers? ... well they're a heathen lot anyway...)

True, Mathematica is useful. But it's closed source nature, combined with its almost universal presence in scientific research is very troubling.

Show your work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822067)

This is the most cogent statement in this entire discussion.

rich enough to use Mathematica? (4, Informative)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821373)

does it matter that it's open source or not?

It does if you don't have $2400 to spend on a copy of Mathematica.

Re:rich enough to use Mathematica? (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821795)

It does if you don't have $2400 to spend on a copy of Mathematica.

No, that only makes price, rather than freedom, matter.

Viewable source is strictly better than closed source, at least for technical reasons (and arguably for ethical ones as well). Trust me, on my day-to-day job having source code access to the vast majority of the SAP codebase (ie, everything above kernel level) makes it much, much easier to develop for it. Proper Open Source has, once again, technical advantages (especially BSD-style licenses: it's one of the best ways to make sure that the implementation of a standard is usable across the market), and the Free Software attitude also has several interesting ethical points (which is freer? BSD or GPL? Why?) All in all, despite being so cliché it's painful (here in /., that is), "Is there a F/OSS alternative?" is a very valid question on many angles.

Re:Slashvertisement (4, Informative)

mblase (200735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820865)

No advertising here, just a happy math nerd who was recently investigating alternatives like Maxima and SciLab himself recently, and was impressed that the new version of Mathematica leapfrogged them all by doing much more instead of just doing what it does faster.

(This despite the fact that Mathematica is, and nearly always has been, far more number-crunching power than I've ever needed in my academic or professional career.)

Re:Slashvertisement (5, Informative)

Xamusk (702162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821263)

Sage http://sagemath.org/ [sagemath.org] is coming pretty good. Version 3.2 will come out in just a few days.

And you can use Mathematica, Matlab, Maple, Magma, Maxima, etc from inside Sage if you have those programs available.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821557)

Not really a slashvertisment, this IS big news for any mathmatics / physics student (probably comp sci too)

While ive found wxMaxima to be fairly useful and i use it at home, when im at uni mathmatica is simply much easier to use. Simple science software is an area where I feal that although the underlying software is probably available under the GPL (gnuplot, maxima, etc), because real geeks are happy to use it, not much work is put into producing a simple GUI.

Perhaps its a simple case of wrong tool for the job, much like its acceptable that "the gimp" doesn't make simple editing as easy as photoshop because its not what its meant to do?
Is there a set of tools for me to solve equations with that comes in a nicely packaged GUI (while probably lacking the power of more advanced tools like maxima & matlab)

Fuck Mathematica (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820065)

Maple 4 life!

Re:Fuck Mathematica (5, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820413)

Maple 4 was released in April 1986. You should really consider upgrading.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (4, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820505)

Maple 12 life!

Wolfman? (2, Interesting)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820077)

Did anyone else read that as Wolfman. Pretty impressive for a shapeshifter.
Seriously though this has the potential to do for this form of mathmatics what Spreadsheets did for Accounting.

Re:Wolfman? (1)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820435)

Yeah I read Wolfman as well and was thinking that the updates and release cycles would be really long if he could only work on it during full moons.

Re:Wolfman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25821163)

I thought the article was going to somehow be about Tungsten. Boy was I disappointed....

Re:Wolfman? (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821435)

Funny. I clicked on comments and searched for the word "wolfman" just to make sure I wasn't the only one.

I love mathematica (1)

sdemjanenko (1296903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820083)

Can't wait to see what new stuff they put into this. I didnt even know it was time for a new release already.

Re:I love mathematica (4, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820241)

>Can't wait to see what new stuff they put into this.

Other Recently Added Features:

Visualization & Graphics
High-Impact Adaptive Visualization
Automated Computational Aesthetics
Fully Automated Graph Layout
Real-Time 3D Graphics
Automated Table Layout
Dynamic Interactivity

Mathematics & Algorithms
Integrated Geometric Computing
Combinatorial Optimization
Constrained Nonlinear Optimization
Equational Theorem Proving
High-Level String Computation
New Generation Numerical Integration

Computable Data
Financial Data
Astronomical Data
Country Data
Particle Data
Graph Data
Mathematical Data

Data Manipulation
Exploratory Data Analysis
Symbolic Sound Support
Symbolic Report Generation
3D Printing & Scanning Support
Symbolic Statistical Computing

Core Language
Unification of Graphics, Text & Controls
Language for Data Integration
Dynamic Graphical Input
Instant Multimedia Programming
Real-Time Code Annotation
Instant High-Level Debugging

Interface & User Experience
Symbolic Interface Construction
Integrated Graphics Editing & Drawing
Built-in Gamepad & HID Support
Streamlined Presentation Framework
New Documentation Framework Dynamic Interactivity

Re:I love mathematica (5, Funny)

Skevin (16048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821865)

Uhh...

> High-Impact Adaptive Visualization
It's got graphics now.

> Automated Computational Aesthetics
You don't have to graph things out by hand.

> Fully Automated Graph Layout
You don't have to graph things out by hand.

> Real-Time 3D Graphics
If you change your equation, the graph changes too.

> Automated Table Layout
Shows you the points they graphed.

> Dynamic Interactivity
It's got a GUI.

> Integrated Geometric Computing
Runs on a computer following Moore's law, hence "geometric" advancement.

> Combinatorial Optimization
Solve the Travelling Salesman problem by something other than brute force.

> Equational Theorem Proving
Okay, that could be cool... if the previous versions didn't have it already.

> New Generation Numerical Integration
It can use numbers now?

> Computable Data
> Financial Data
> Astronomical Data
> Country Data
> Particle Data
> Graph Data
> Mathematical Data
Since this is a list of "New Features", previous versions of Mathematica could not be used for these purposes. All you could do was show a fellow math geek how that humanities major had a really nice set of 80085.

> Unification of Graphics, Text & Controls
In previous versions, you were lucky if what you wrote or clicked resembled anything like the output! Now, when when you type in "y=x", you actually get a straight diagonal line, instead of one of the spirally partial differential functions we like to put on the cover of the manual!

> Language for Data Integration
There's now its own scripting language. Whoa, Mathematica never had *that* before!

> Dynamic Graphical Input
Use symbols you never thought possible! Like that squiggly "integrate" symbol, or that lambda derive-like thingy. Even use that upside-down "U" for set theory!

> Instant Multimedia Programming
Uses both Video and Audio! Include a Youtube video in your equations of Stephen himself telling you how wrong your equation is!

> Real-Time Code Annotation
Add "comments" whenever and wherever you want! No other language has the ability to "comment" on your code!

> Instant High-Level Debugging
Be able to step through your code and set break points! Stephen is the first person to think of it! No other programming IDE has ever done anything so revolutionary!

> Integrated Graphics Editing & Drawing
Did your equations predict that the Mars Lander was going to crash and burn? Use the Graph Editor to change the equation output, and show your fellow engineers a perfect atmospheric re-entry! Then re-sell those high-risk equations to an over-leveraged engineer who does care! You'll be long gone by the time they realize what you've done! This feature brought to you by the Lenders Association of US Banks.

> HID Support
You may now use a mouse and keyboard in this version, instead of simply shouting at the screen, hoping it'll do something!

> Streamlined Presentation Framework
Use an overhead projector instead of a video monitor to show your results!

> New Documentation Framework Dynamic Interactivity
We'd like to call it "Google"...

Solomon Chang

Re:I love mathematica (-1, Offtopic)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820261)

I hate Mathematica - got so confused with the funny symbols in version 1 that I haven't been back. I'm a visual sort of guy, so I'm just glad that Photoshop is better. We're at 11 [adobe.com] .

I hear they also make the apocalypse (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820085)

The wolf.
The ram.
The heart.

Re:I hear they also make the apocalypse (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820359)

Hart, actually. And that's exactly where my nerdy brain went to as well.

Re:I hear they also make the apocalypse (1)

tyler.willard (944724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820389)

That won't get you an apocalypse...you need a hart.

Re:I hear they also make the apocalypse (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821381)

With heart, you get an apocalypse involving tribbles.

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820099)

After being denied internet access for 3 years for crapflooding, i am back. Prepare to be seriously crapflooded.

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820479)

Next time we'll rip your tonsils out through your anus. I would suggest you not try us.

Re:fp (3, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820665)

After being denied internet access for 3 years

Yeah, prison will do that too you.

Layne

Wolfram? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820121)

That sounds like an ITALIAN word. I always suspected that "math" was a Papal conspiracy. Accounting is American, and "mathematica" is some tutti frutti Italian fraud that should not be allowed in CHURCH.

I think I'll pass. (5, Funny)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820175)

A slashvertisment suggestion for tomorrow:

"The Pirate Bay also Releases Mathematica 7"

Re:I think I'll pass. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820321)

That would be nice, but doesn't solve the problem of Mathemitca's notorious copy protection. From what I hear, even legitimate owners often have trouble getting past it.

Re:I think I'll pass. (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820363)

You mean like Windows?? TPB 1337 h@x0rz got around that just fine.

Re:I think I'll pass. (3, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820503)

OK, perhaps I should explain something.

1. Release team
2. Initial distribution (closed FTP, IRC etc)
3. Usenet
4. P2P (Torrents, Kademlia, etc)

The pirate bay folks don't do anything except shuffle bits.

Re:I think I'll pass. (5, Insightful)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820409)

>That would be nice,

It is.

>but doesn't solve the problem

It will.

>of Mathemitca's notorious copy protection.

The Pirate Bay verison of mathematica usually includes protection from copy protection.

>From what I hear, even legitimate owners often have trouble getting past it.

Legitimate owners of ANY copy protection system are generally having orders of magnitude more problems with those systems than users who just get clean copies at their Pirate Bay.

Re:I think I'll pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820473)

doesn't solve the problem of Mathemitca's notorious copy protection. From what I hear, even legitimate owners often have trouble getting past it.

Let me correct that for you. "From what I hear, only legitimate owners have trouble getting past it."

Seriously, the second biggest problem with DRM is that pirates are less inconvenienced that paying customers.

Of course, the biggest problem with DRM is that paying customers are being inconvenienced at all.

Re:I think I'll pass. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25821407)

The ironic thing about Mathematica software being pirated is that Wolfram himself has no shame when it comes to pirating.

This was overheard in his office. When an engineer of his said that he needed a $10,000 software suite to do his job, Wolfram said, "Well just rip it off!"

I do not feel bad for Wolfram if their products experience the same result. And I would be willing to bet this is why they're so draconian with the attempted copy protection. I legitimately bought version 4 about 6 years ago and I have used a keygen to install it on new computers when I wanted to move it...rather than having to call them up to unlock it.

Refund please (2, Informative)

bargainsale (1038112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820183)

I want a refund on my copy of "A New Kind of Science" before thinking about paying more money to the Wolfram organisation.
Much handwaving, little meat, astonishing arrogance.

One of the most overhyped books I've ever actually been suckered into buying.

I found particularly offputting W's treatment of important parts of his own thesis (computational completeness of some automata) as commercial secrets

Re:Refund please (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820391)

Much handwaving, little meat, astonishing arrogance.

Sounds more like his masturbation habits.

From my point of view (4, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820211)

This just seems like its got so bloated that it will likely be priced beyond the budget of most students.

I don't see why we have to have these all encompassing suites anyway, what's wrong with small tools at low cost which work together?
Its most likely that students who want but can't afford this will hit the torrent trackers, which isn't really what we want.

Re:From my point of view (4, Informative)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820319)

>This just seems like its got so bloated that it will likely be priced beyond the budget of most students.

It isnt aimed at students.

>what's wrong with small tools at low cost which work together?

Wolfram does not want you to work with any competitor's product. He wants you to raise a mortgage in order to be able to pay for his "complete solution".

>which isn't really what we want.

Except it really is what most of us want. Why shouldn't it?

Re:From my point of view (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820549)

No only is nothing wrong with that, it is the smartest way to go.
They want to be all encompassing to get money currently going to other companies, and the only way they see to do this is by bloating current software.
Sadly many managers don't see then benefit in several small apps, and many programmers would really know how to to it well.

Re:From my point of view (5, Interesting)

addaon (41825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820551)

The student version is cheap (free at most decent universities). The Wolfram folk are great if you need a deviation on the license for student stuff (running on a multi-processor machine before multiple kernel executions were included in the default license); just ask. As a long-time student, Mathematica is the greatest tool out there, and is the only software out there where I'm consistently excited about no versions, and /always/ find ways to incorporate at least a few of the new features in my existing notebooks. With Mathematica 6, Manipulate[] was an absolute game changer. With Mathematica 7, I'm betting ParallelTable[] and the new charting features will be just as big a deal, for me.

Re:From my point of view (3, Interesting)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820785)

Manipulate[] alone beats every chalkboard/whiteboard/overhead projector hands down. I found it to be a profound aid in teaching myself concepts such as curvature on a line or a plane and other things.

Re:From my point of view (2, Insightful)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821597)

and is the only software out there where I'm consistently excited about no versions, and /always/ find ways to incorporate at least a few of the new features in my existing notebooks.

You must be really excited considering that every new version of Mathematica programming language is slightly but ever more and more incompatible with the Mathematica language of the previous versions. They don't only add functions and functionalities or whatever, they also change the language.

Re:From my point of view (2, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821781)

Mathematica is the greatest tool out there, and is the only software out there where I'm consistently excited about no versions

I'd have to agree with you. There are no versions of Mathemetica that excite me, either.

Re:From my point of view (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820611)

If you're a student, you can get a copy that expires after a year for $150. Not cheap, but in the same range as your (overpriced) physics textbook.

Me, I have no professional or educational requirement for the thing, but I'd like to have a copy for self-education purposes. But $2K is a bit much. I suppose 5 or 6 would be adequate for that purpose. $150 on eBay.

It's interesting that Mathematica is still supported on MacOS, Linux (including Itanium!) and Solaris. Support for AIX only disappeared recently. Supporting all those platforms does drive up costs just a bit.

Re:From my point of view (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821627)

If you're a student, you can get a copy that expires after a year for $150.

Great! So what are students supposed to do with their code after the thing expires?

Re:From my point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822113)

It's interesting that Mathematica is still supported on MacOS, Linux (including Itanium!) and Solaris.

Why? Write the libraries / engine against POSIX, and call it from the GUI.

Re:From my point of view (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820713)

I don't get all this bias against Mathematica. So, anything not free & open source is bad?
Most universities give this for free to their students. At least both my undergrad and my grad did. Even if yours does not give it, it costs $140 for students, not much more than some expensive textbooks. There is even a 1-year time limited version for half the price (although I don't like renting software myself).
Now, about the software itself, it is almost a decade since I was doing a Physics degree but I still remember how blown away I was with this software. Imagine how a physicist would feel if he could suddenly enlist the greatest mathematician of all time, one that knows every technique "in the book", to work on his side. I am sure Einstein would have "killed" for Mathematica.
Actually, Mathematica was not ONLY positive for me. Because of it, I never bothered with LaTeX. I simply wrote all my papers in Mathematica (and switched science for Grad school, so there was no need any more).
I am not sure how the new versions have advanced, but I would still call even the 10+ year old version (Mathematica 3), the best software ever written.
Oh, BTW, copy paste with MS Eq editor? WTF? But I guess there was nothing else they could add ;)
And YES, it does run on Linux. Even 64 bit.

Re:From my point of view (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821669)

I am sure Einstein would have "killed" for Mathematica.

Yeah, I mean he might have had discovered not only relativity but also string theory! And string theorists, if they only knew all the power concentrated in this package,... I think you should inform them!

Re:From my point of view (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820847)

Student editions are much, much cheaper.
For example, a complete version of Matlab costs around
$20000 for students
$50000 for government agencies
$150000 for commercial organizations
The only difference is a "student edition" message that is displayed along with the "command prompt initialized" message. And no student will need the $20K copy, probably the needed modules will cost $1000.

No thanks (1)

Murple the Purple (130813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820213)

I'll keep IDL as my scientific computing corporate overlord during my migration to octave.

Re:No thanks (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820751)

Wow...another IDL user? No way! Column major, FTW!

Re:No thanks (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821355)

IDL and MATLAB are the overlords at my office. Mostly IDL...

Maple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820253)

Maple is a great alternative.
http://www.maplesoft.com/

For $2,495 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820299)

You'd think they invented mathematics...

Re:For $2,495 (1)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820583)

This software isn't really aimed for individuals or students, it's made for researchers and big businesses to whom $2,495 is nothing.

For any normal person who wants to try it, just wait a couple weeks, I'm sure it'll be on the Pirate Bay...

(And before you intellectual property activists jump on here, I'm not supporting pirating it, I'm just saying that there is no way in hell they expect your average user to pay for it, and any company that would need it would never pirate it, so I don't think they care)

Skill (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820305)

The amount of skill and programming know how to make a program like Mathematica is amazing. I would love to see the code on how they do things.

Re:Skill (2, Informative)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820501)

>The amount of skill and programming know how to make a program like Mathematica is amazing.

You mean, as amazing as the amount of skill and know how required for practically every large scale application?

>I would love to see the code on how they do things.

You can any time start looking at and learning from completely free systems like GNU Octave, Sage or SciLab.

Re:Skill (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25821185)

You certainly don't know what it takes to program a scientific program. It's not your "usual" large-scale application. It's far more involved than you think it is. You cannot simply have some mad programming skills to make it. You also need to have some mad math skills to make some REAL optimizations.

Re:Skill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820511)

No, believe me, you will not love it when you see how they do it.

My attempted post from last night. (0, Redundant)

Ed Pegg (613755) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820405)

Mathematica 7 [wolfram.com] has launched, as noted in Stephen Wolfram's blog post [wolfram.com] . Among the new features [wolfram.com] are huge equation typesetting [wolfram.com] , transcendental roots [wolfram.com] , and discrete calculus [wolfram.com] . Looking back at the version 6 [slashdot.org] discussion, it's perhaps inevitable that comparisons will be made to CAR [ku-eichstaett.de] , CGsuite [sourceforge.net] , GAP [gap-system.org] , Geogebra [geogebra.org] , Geometer's Sketchpad [dynamicgeometry.com] , Geometry Expressions [geometryexpressions.com] , Geonext [uni-bayreuth.de] , LaTeX [latex-project.org] , Magma [usyd.edu.au] , Maple [maplesoft.com] , Matlab [mathworks.com] , nauty [anu.edu.au] , noneuclid [unm.edu] , Pari [u-bordeaux.fr] , Sage [sagemath.org] , or SeifertView [win.tue.nl] . In other news, the Wolfram Demonstrations [wolfram.com] project now has over 4000 interactive math demos.

Re:My attempted post from last night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25821703)

yours is impossible to read.

Fuck Mathematica (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820427)

and fuck Matlab too, while we are at it. I got a free hit of Matlab in university and then found out how much they charge for licenses only after I was an addict (had a pile of useful code that I didn't want to throw away). I am not going to keep paying for the privilege of running my own code and am busily learning Python.

Mathematica code belongs to Wolfram Research, Matlab code belongs to the Mathworks, but Python code can be MINE! (and yours too, if I want to give it to you.)

I don't buy into the virtual machines they are pushing now either; they might be free as in beer, but it is only a short-term solution and is nothing more than "free hits" to generate more addicts that need licenses.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (5, Informative)

rcallan (1256716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820553)

Octave is a free version of Matlab, practically all your Matlab code will work in Octave.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (1)

vistic (556838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820747)

Will it do the audio and image stuff too?

All the Matlab code I ever wrote was for a multimedia class, like audio compression, implementing Philips' algorithm they use in their HDTVs to make low-def TV look sharper, face recognition, and creating a frame of video from elements of the previous frame.

In the course of doing practical stuff, there were some neat looking effects I ended up creating that I've thought about applying on some images.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (1)

rahuja (751005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820849)

Unfortunately over time, by grad school, I also got used to using MATLAB rather than continue using Octave, and became dependent on the image processing toolkit.

But I'm assuming most stuff you did for your multimedia class used *some* of the built-in stuff (e.g. functions to read images from file, color format conversion) while implementing most processing logic (like your SDTV up-conversion example) in your own code using more "standard" functions (e.g. dct2 etc.)

I'd say it'll be worth checking out Ocatve's image processing toolkit, since it does seem to support most stuff.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821241)

I recall getting doing just about all of the work for my DSP classes in Octave, but some functions are different. I don't remember about my image processing class; most of it was in C++ anyway. To get the DSP and image stuff you'll have to look on octave-forge.

I also recall, in my DSP class, having the best-looking graphs in the class. I can hardly believe it's impossible to get decent-looking graphs out of Matlab, but nobody in my classes knew how.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821001)

Not at all true, I've even found that many functions even have different names than those in Matlab.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821679)

I have found one problem with open source toolchans - producing good quality graphics. At the end of the day you have to present the data, and gnuplot just isn't cutting it anymore.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (5, Informative)

rahuja (751005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820671)

You don't have to throw that code away or port it to an entirely different language (though Python rocks, and I wish my day-to-day job let me use more of it) Try GNU Octave [gnu.org] - that's what I used to back in college because my department didn't have licensed copies of MATLAB installed/available, so-called student versions were insanely impossible and expensive to get hold of (Indian students can't afford $100), and I didn't want to pick a pirated one like the rest of the class.

Possible the first open-spurce software I practically used (except playing with Linux).

Code was very cross-compatible between Octave and MATLAB, except say constants like "e" and "exp" (and of course the MATLAB-specific toolkits). The toughest part at that time was explaining to the professor (who had no idea what "open-source" was) that I did *not* use MATLAB, but it would run on MATLAB fine if he wanted to check that my assignments work fine.

Re:Fuck Mathematica (2, Interesting)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821643)

I'll second the advice on Octave. I used Matlab for some projects in university but quickly switched over to Octave. I did all my work for my numerical methods course using Octave. As the prof and markers never actually ran our code (they just quickly looked over source and results) they didn't even notice it wasn't matlab. As that course was fairly simple pretty much all of it would have compiled under matlab with no changes. Some of the more complex stuff I did for projects would have required a bit of "porting", but not nearly as much as porting to a different language.

Free Alternative? Sage maybe. (4, Informative)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820475)

The closest thing to a free alternative I've been able to find is Sage: http://www.sagemath.org/ [sagemath.org] Compared to MatLab, Maple, and Mathematica (yes I know MatLAB is differently purposed than the other two) the usability of Sage blows. It's pretty powerful sure, but when even Maple is easier to use then you've got a problem. I may give the new Mathematica a try. Integration with Word will make some of my lab writeups go a bit faster. Well, maybe as long as Mathematica doesn't take too long to figure out. Too bad our University doesn't sell it to students for $5 a pop anymore.

Re:Free Alternative? Sage maybe. (3, Interesting)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820687)

>the usability of Sage blows. It's pretty powerful sure, but when even Maple is easier to
>use then you've got a problem

What do you actually mean by "easier to use", regarding a computer algebra system for doing heavy math? Clicketyclicking around without having to actually learn to use it? This easy to use mem may actually have some validity in desktop environments and generall consumer leisure apps, but I'm wondering to actually see such unwillingness to learn from people doing _MATH_, which are, by definition, required to be curious into how things work and not just clicking around and rotating colorful 3D surfaces the whole day.

Re:Free Alternative? Sage maybe. (1)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821331)

I'm not only referring to "clicketyclicking" as you put it, but also the richness and usefulness of the documentation and ease of actually using the software. Using Sage on a computer and then using any of the 3 big math software packages is like comparing swimming in molasses to swimming in water. This is not only in terms of performance and responsiveness, but steps to do the same task. Sage-installation is not exactly typical either. If two software items are equally feature rich, then ease of use us a perfectly valid point of comparison. I'm not entirely sure where your condescension comes from, but I do write a lot of my own tools and use plenty of _MATH_ in my graduate nuclear engineering and physics courses. Appreciating efficiency and ease of use does not preclude intelligence or curiosity.

Re:Free Alternative? Sage maybe. (1)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821527)

Excuse the double post. I think a more pertinent example of why I find Sage's usability to be lacking is that the times I have tried to use it I have usually ended up writing my own tool in visual fortran in less time than it took to do in Sage.

But does it (0)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820519)

Run on Linux?

Re:But does it (2, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820657)

Actually, it does. The Itanium-Linux version costs an extra K, though.

Re:But does it (1)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820661)

Yes, it does [wolfram.com] . $2495 though...ouch.

Re:But does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820759)

Yes, Running it on Linux now.

Re:But does it (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821105)

Mathematica 7 is so powerful, Linux runs on it

mathematica vs matlab? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25820545)

The screen shots sure are pretty. I've always been a MATLAB user. Can I build applications/tools on top of Mathematica? Is the language object oriented?

that's a lot of smart programmers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820571)

Well, to be redundant with my subject... that's a lot of smart programmers. I don't think most programmers go through all that higher level math, and I'm not sure most mathematicians know how to program. No wonder it's expensive.

Re:that's a lot of smart programmers (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821223)

that's a lot of smart programmers. I don't think most programmers go through all that higher level math, and I'm not sure most mathematicians know how to program. No wonder it's expensive

That's funny; I've always believed computer science to be just a highly applied form of abstract mathematics. And, of course, there's the simple fact that electronic computers were invented to speed up mathematical computations -- "computer" used to be a job description, remember?

It's true that most programmers don't bother with high-level math -- although they'd better pass calculus if they want to understand O(n) vs. O(log(n)) -- and most mathematicians don't bother with high-level programming languages. But I've always found that the two careers employ nearly the same sort of minds, and that proving mathematical theorems was almost the same sort of thinking as writing software functions.

Back on topic -- I guess what impressed me about Mathematica 7 was the wealth of added features to make it directly useable to all sorts of scientists whose fields are heavy on advanced math, by including not just the functions they use most, but the data as well. It may not have much relevance to a software developer, but I'm sure the electrical engineers who build the micro-hardware could find one or two uses for it.

Re:that's a lot of smart programmers (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821701)

I completely agree that computer science is related to math. I personally actually like math and physics and whatnot, to the extent that I'm reading a textbook (I guess) on spacetime physics for fun. But I think you have to admit that many aspects of computer science *today* are very far removed from actual mathematical calculations or even mathematical ability (e.g., you don't have to take calculus to write a PHP script). You don't have to have any electrical engineering knowledge to "build" a computer, either, really. You have to be able to plug this into that, maybe know some basic specs about the components, etc.

Re:that's a lot of smart programmers (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822011)

[...]I guess what impressed me about Mathematica 7 was the wealth of added features to make it directly useable to all sorts of scientists whose fields are heavy on advanced math, by including not just the functions they use most, but the data as well. It may not have much relevance to a software developer, but I'm sure the electrical engineers who build the micro-hardware could find one or two uses for it.

Well, we call this calculator, not computer. Since you're also talking about abstract mathematics, I'm sure I don't have to explain the difference between the two.

Re:that's a lot of smart programmers (1)

thebheffect (1409105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821745)

It depends on what university you attend. For pure example, the computer science program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is within the College of Engineering, requiring 4 semesters of calculus, and the usual linear algebra and prob and stat courses.

API sucks (4, Informative)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820679)

I had to write some code using the Mathematica API once, and it hurt. It provides a pipe of tokens, but if you ask for the wrong token, it hangs. You can peak at the front of the queue, but it's still the case that every time you want to read in a token you have to write code to expect any of a million different types of token for all the crazy error messages you never knew you might get.

Also, the GUI is awful. That notebook metaphor just does not work. You want to remove a buggy line of code somewhere but it might be attached to another block so it's really hard to get hold of it. The navigation keys (pg up, end and so on) don't work as you'd expect in an editor so you become very mouse reliant, which is awful for anybody used to working in a programming environment.

In my experience, Matlab is far superior although as others have pointed out, I'd still rather be working in Python. Numpy anybody?

Re:API sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25821425)

Sage ( http://www.sagemath.org ) uses Python as its programming language. While its primary focus on more pure math applications, it includes numpy and scipy for more applied / numerical stuff.

It also provides a set of interfaces which allows it to work with other software on your system (include Maple, Mathematica, and MATLAB).

Re:API sucks (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822089)

no, no numpy, thanks.

Has to be said (-1, Troll)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821293)

Slashdot

"Ad for Nerds, Shit that don't matter"

Enough with the advertisments as news stories. It's B as in B, S as in S.

Scipy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25821349)

I have found Scipy (www.scipy.org) to be greater than or equal to anything out there, including Matlab and Octave...but I don't do symbolic stuff much so I can't make a solid Mathematica comparison.

cost, features, and random ramblings (3, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821711)

I've used Maple, Mathematica, and SAS, among other products, for mathematical and/or statistical analysis. From a programming/features perspective, each has its own strengths--and weaknesses.

I'll only briefly mention cost. These things are expensive because it's not like any random programmer can build this kind of software. Especially with Mathematica, these are heavily-researched algorithms that are nontrivial to implement. Also, the market is small for such a specialized and sophisticated application. Your average person isn't ever going to be able to use something like this. They barely know what the quadratic formula is. (They should, but that's an entirely different story.) You think they need to invert a 20x20 matrix? Or compute the Galois group of a quintic? Or even do a simple hypothesis test?

As for the image manipulation stuff, I think that comparisons to Photoshop are a bit naive. Clearly, it's not supposed to be for people who want to do red-eye reduction on their family photos. It's not even for graphic designers or photographers. It's for scientists who want an algorithmic approach to adjusting their images, either for research or for purposes of publication. Could you do these things in Photoshop? Sure. Could you then say what formula or algorithm was applied to the image to produce that specific result? No. And conversely, you wouldn't do layer composition, masking, or on-the-fly tonal adjustments with Mathematica.

FWIW I hate the copy protection on it too. It's infuriating and a burden to legitimate users while doing little to deter piracy.

About that 'Photoshop clone'... (1)

toby (759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822019)

As much as Adobe would like to sell it as the tool for EVERY purpose under the sun - Photoshop is not really aimed at mathematical/scientific image processing. It was originally aimed at pre-press as a complement to PostScript and Illustrator, and later diversified to web production, etc.

Photoshop has a severe case of feature creep - resulting in a product that, instead of doing one thing well (it always was the leader in print production), does too many things less well.

Mathematica's new features hardly amount to a Photoshop clone; they address only an insignificant subset of Photoshop's features, and in this specialised niche, go considerably further.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?