Re: [SI-LIST] : Mathmatical Software

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From: Ray Anderson (Raymond.Anderson@Sun.COM)
Date: Wed Apr 04 2001 - 11:18:24 PDT


My personal favorite is Matlab. If you can imagine doing something
mathematical, Matlab can probably do it. Currently we use it for
post-processing lots of measured lab data to create graphical
representations. One down-side is that mathworks requires you
to purchase extra add-on 'toolboxes' for various disciplines.
(like signal processing, symbolic math, dsp etc., etc. )
They have multitudes of add-on toolboxes available. One comment,
the symbolic math toolkit incorporates a large subset of Maple.
There is an open-source program called Octave ( http://www.octave.org)
which has very matlab-like syntax. It doesn't have all the bells and
whistles, chrome and glitz that Matlab does, however if your task
is within it's capabilities it is a great program (and it is free).
In some respects it is even better than Matlab for some applications.
It runs on Unix, Linux, and Windoze and is available either as binaries
or source code. I've used Octave to provide number crunching ability
to some on-line web-based SI tools I've developed for in-house use.

Mathcad is probably the most intuitive to use and excels in it's ability
to work with equations in a natural fashion. I've always felt the graphics
left a little to be desired, but they are adequate. Only available on
Windoze platforms (and maybe Macs) as far as I know. Price is moderate
(a few hundred compared to Matlab which clocks in in the thousands).

Mathematica is a real power house, but even though I've got it on my
machine I don't think I've used it in years so I'll defer to others
for comments. I think I found it kind of non-intuitive in its use,
but that just may be me. This one is pricey too.

-Ray

>Rich Peyton wrote:
>>
>> Hello All,
>>
>> Does anyone have any recommendations on " Mathematical Software " for
>> Electrical Engineering and SI.
>> MathCAD, Mathematica etc... Which one would be best for calculations,
>> reports, graphs? I was leaning towards MathCAD because of it's wide
>> acceptance? Any recommendations?
>>
>> Thanks
>> Rich
>
>
>Hmmmm, great topic!
>
>I've always liked Mathematica; it's the grandaddy of all of these
>packages, and I think it probably is ahead of the other in terms of
>power.
>
>Lately, though, I've been learning Maple, and it's probably pretty
>close to Mathematica in terms of the way it works and in terms of
>power. I don't know enough about the programming language aspects
>of Maple to make a direct comparison; what I like about Mathematica
>is the non-procedural methods it provides for defining functions; it's
>not clear to me (so far) that Maple does this (does anyone else know
>for sure?).
>
>Mathcad is also a reasonable choice. Some of our analog designers use
>and like it, and at least one of them uses it for *ALL* his design
>work rather than using a circuit simulator! So it presumably has
>the power to do about all you would want to do in terms of design.
>I believe the math engine in Mathcad is Maple (it was a few years
>ago when I had a copy on my now-defunct Mac)
>
>Given a choice, I'd choose Mathematica. But I think any of them would
>be fine for design work, and I think they are all in about the same
>ballpark pricewise. They all run on nearly any platform.
>
>By the way, we also have Matlab, which is not much of a symbolic math
>engine, but is excellent for handling large arrays of data. I've used
>it to simulate bandwidth limiting of simulated waveforms in PCB traces,
>and it works very nicely for this sort of thing. Anyone doing DSP
>would have to have Matlab in addition to any other math package, in my
>opinion.
>--
>Kim Helliwell
>Senior CAE Engineer
>Acuson Corporation
>Phone: 650 694 5030 FAX: 650 943 7260

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