MaplePrimes Announcement

Maple 2017 has launched!

Maple 2017 is the result of hard work by an enthusiastic team of developers and mathematicians.

As ever, we’re guided by you, our users. Many of the new features are of a result of your feedback, while others are passion projects that we feel you will find value in.

Here’s a few of my favourite enhancements. There’s far more that’s new - see What’s New in Maple 2017 to learn more.

 

MapleCloud Package Manager

Since it was first introduced in Maple 14, the MapleCloud has made thousands of Maple documents and interactive applications available through a web interface.

Maple 2017 completely refreshes the MapleCloud experience. Allied with a new, crisp, interface, you can now download and install user-created packages.

Simply open the MapleCloud interface from within Maple, and a mouse click later, you see a list of user-created packages, continuously updated via the Internet. Two clicks later, you’ve downloaded and installed a package.

This completely bypasses the traditional process of searching for and downloading a package, copying to the right folder, and then modifying libname in Maple. That was a laborious process, and, unless I was motivated, stopped me from installing packages.

The MapleCloud hosts a growing number of packages.

Many regular visitors to MaplePrimes are already familiar with Sergey Moiseev’s DirectSearch package for optimization, equation solving and curve fitting.

My fellow product manager, @DSkoog has written a package for grouping data into similar clusters (called ClusterAnalysis on the Package Manager)

Here’s a sample from a package I hacked together for downloading maps images using the Google Maps API (it’s called Google Maps and Geocoding on the Package Manager).

You’ll also find user-developed packages for exploring AES-based encryption, orthogonal series expansions, building Maple shell scripts and more.

Simply by making the process of finding and installing packages trivially easy, we’ve opened up a new world of functionality to users.

Maple 2017 also offers a simple method for package authors to upload workbook-based packages to the MapleCloud.

We’re engaging with many package authors to add to the growing list of packages on the MapleCloud. We’d be interested in seeing your packages, too!

 

Advanced Math

We’re committed to continually improving the core symbolic math routines. Here area few examples of what to expect in Maple 2017.

Resulting from enhancements to the Risch algorithm, Maple 2017 now computes symbolic integrals that were previously intractable

Groeber:-Basis uses a new implementation of the FGLM algorithm. The example below runs about 200 times faster in Maple 2017.

gcdex now uses a sparse primitive polynomial remainder sequence together.  For sparse structured problems the new routine is orders of magnitude faster. The example below was previously intractable.

The asympt and limit commands can now handle asymptotic cases of the incomplete Γ function where both arguments tend to infinity and their quotient remains finite.

Among several improvements in mathematical functions, you can now calculate and manipulate the four multi-parameter Appell functions.

 

Appel functions are of increasing importance in quantum mechanics, molecular physics, and general relativity.

pdsolve has seen many enhancements. For example, you can tell Maple that a dependent variable is bounded. This has the potential of simplifying the form of a solution.

 

Plot Builder

Plotting is probably the most common application of Maple, and for many years, you’ve been able to create these plots without using commands, if you want to.  Now, the re-designed interactive Plot Builder makes this process easier and better.

When invoked by a context menu or command on an expression or function, a panel slides out from the right-hand side of the interface.

 

Generating and customizing plots takes a single mouse click. You alter plot types, change formatting options on the fly and more.

To help you better learn Maple syntax, you can also display the actual plot command.

Password Protected Content

You can distribute password-protected executable content. This feature uses the workbook file format introduced with Maple 2016.

You can lock down any worksheet in a Workbook. But from any other worksheet, you can send (author-specified) parameters into the locked worksheet, and extract (author-specified) results.

 

Plot Annotations

You can now get information to pop up when you hover over a point or a curve on a plot.

In this application, you see the location and magnitude of an earthquake when you hover over a point

Here’s a ternary diagram of the color of gold-silver-copper alloys. If you let your mouse hover over the points, you see the composition of the points

Plot annotations may seem like a small feature, but they add an extra layer of depth to your visualizations. I’ve started using them all the time!

 

Engineering Portal

In my experience, if you ask an engineer how they prefer to learn, the vast majority of them will say “show me an example”. The significantly updated Maple Portal for Engineers does just that, incorporating many more examples and sample applications.  In fact, it has a whole new Application Gallery containing dozens of applications that solve concrete problems from different branches of engineering while illustrating important Maple techniques.

Designed as a starting point for engineers using Maple, the Portal also includes information on math and programming, interface features for managing your projects, data analysis and visualization tools, working with physical and scientific data, and a variety of specialized topics.

 

Geographic Data

You can now generate and customize world maps. This for example, is a choropleth of European fertility rates (lighter colors indicate lower fertility rates)

You can plot great circles that show the shortest path between two locations, show varying levels of detail on the map, and even experiment with map projections.

A new geographic database contains over one million locations, cross-referenced with their longitude, latitude, political designation and population.

The database is tightly linked to the mapping tools. Here, we ask Maple to plot the location of country capitals with a population of greater than 8 million and a longitude lower than 30.

 

There’s much more to Maple 2017. It’s a deep, rich release that has something for everyone.

Visit What’s New in Maple 2017 to learn more.

Featured Post

In the recent years much software has undergone a change towards allowing for better sharing of documents. As is the case with other software as well, the users are no longer mainly single persons sitting in a dark corner doing their own stuff. Luckily Maplesoft has taken an important step in that direction too by introducing MapleCloud some years ago. This means that it is now possible quite easily to discuss calculations done in Maple in the classroom. One student uploads and the Teacher can find the document seconds later on his own computer connected to a Projector and show the student's solutions for the other  students in the classroom. That's indeed great! Maple is however lacking in one important aspect: It's Graphics User Interface (GUI) is not completely ready to for that challenge! I noticed that quite recently when the entire teaching staff received new netbooks: 14 inch Lenovo Yoga X1 with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. From factory defaults text zoom was set to 200%. Without it, text would be too small in all applications used on the computer. The Microsoft Office package and most other software has adapted to this new situation dealing with high variation in the users screen resolutions, but not Maplesoft:

  1. Plots and Images inserted become very small
  2. Open File dialogs and the like contain shortened text for folder names ... (you actually have to guess what the folders are)
  3. Help menus are cluttered up and difficult to read.

I show screen images of all three types below.

I know it is possible to make plots larger by using the option size, but since it relies on pixels it doesn't work when documents are shared between students and teachers. You cannot expect the receiving student/teacher to make a lot of changes in the document just to be able to read it. It will completely destroy the workflow!

Why doesn't Maplesoft allow for letting documents display proportionally on the users computer like so many other programs do? Why do it need to be in pixels? If it is possible to make it proportional, it would also solve another issue: Making prints (to a printer or to pdf) look more like they do on the screen than is the case at present.

I really hope Maplesoft will address this GUI challenge, because I am sure the issue will pile up quite rapidly. Due to higher costs, most laptops/netbooks among students don't have that high resolution compared to computer dimensions at the moment, but we already have received a few remarks from students owning such computers. Very soon those highend solution computers will dive into the consumer market and become very common.

I have mentioned this important GUI issue in the beta-testing group, but I don't think those groups really are adapted to discussions, more bug fixes. Therefore I have made this Post in the hope that some Maple users and some chief developers will comment on it!
     

Now I have criticized the Maple GUI, I also feel urged to tell in what departments I think Maple really excels:

  1. The Document-structure is great. One can produce good looking documents containing 'written math' (inactive math) and/or 'calculated math'. All-in-one! Other competting software does need one to handle things separatly.
  2. Sections and subsections. We have actually started using Maple to create documents containing entire chapters or surveys of mathematics or physics subjects, helping students to get a better overview. I am pretty sure the Workbook tool also will help here.
  3. Calculations are all connected. One can recalculate the document or parts of it, eventually using new parameters. Using Maple for performing matematical experiments. Mathematical experiments is a method entering more into the different mathematics curriculums.
  4. MapleCloud. Easy sharing of documents among students and teachers.
  5. Interactive possibilities through the Explore command and other commands. Math Apps as well.
  6. Besides that mathematical symbols can be accessed from the keyboard, they can also be accessed from palettes by less experinced users.  
  7. Good choice by Maple to let the user globally decide the size text and math is displayed in Maple - set globally in the menu Tools < Options.
  8. Maple can handle units in Physics
  9. Maple has World-Class capabilities. If you have a mathematical problem, Maple can probably handle it. You just need to figure out how.
  10. etc.

 

Small plots:

 

Shortened dialog text:

 

Cluttered help menus:

 

Regards,

Erik

 

Featured Post

1583

Earlier today, we published an update that improves the way MaplePrimes handles tags.

New features include: 

  • There are now tags for Maple Commands and Maple Packages. These tags are denoted with special icons, and cannot be edited. The hope is that these special tags will be useful to anyone looking for assistance with a particular command or package, and will provide another centralized location to find support. For example, a command tag for the plot command will look as follows:.  A package tag looks like:
  • The tags page has been completely updated to show tag use over time, and also provides information about specific tags. Users with moderator privileges can also edit tags directly from this page.
     
  • Hundreds of inappropriate or 'garbage' tags have been removed.

 

In addition to the changes to our tagging, we made a few other improvements and updates, including:

  • New academically- and techically-focused social networks have been added to user profiles
  • Updates to the message editor to improve WYSIWYG consistency
  • A variety of smaller fixes and improvements

I hope you find these improvements valuable, and look forward to your comments and suggestions for future improvements.

 



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