You, I, and others like us, are the beneficiaries of decades of software evolution.
From its genesis as a research project at the University of Waterloo in the early 80s, Maple has continually evolved to meet the challenges of technical computing.
Those challenges are as diverse as our user base. Day to day, I could be speaking to
- a mathematical researcher trying to solve a PDE,
- an engineer prototyping strategies to recover useful work from low-grade waste heat,
- a data scientist looking for trends and patterns in heterogeneous data,
- an educator exploring better ways to teach calculus,
- or a student wanting to get better marks.
Year-on-year, we meet those challenges head-on. Today, I’d like to announce the release of Maple 2016
Maple 2016 features hundreds of improvements – some are significant user-facing features, while others sit quietly in the background, improving the experience of all users.
While there are lots to choose from, these are my five favorite features – some because I’ll use them regularly, others because of the impact they will have on our customers. A few have made an impression simply because of the sheer enthusiasm of my colleagues.
1. The Workbook file format
I and many other engineers use Maple to analyze and process data. Keeping track of Maple worksheets and their associated data files sounds simple, but in practice, file paths change and dependencies are lost.
The Workbook is a new file container format that lets you package Maple worksheets, spreadsheets, images and other data in a single file.
My limited cognitive cycles can now be better spent on tasks other than basic file management.
My colleague Edgardo is singularly devoted to creating the most complete system for algebraic computation in mathematical physics. His peers on MaplePrimes and in the broader physics community are overwhelmingly positive about his work.
Maple 2016 has a searchable database that includes all the solutions found in the classic text Exact Solutions to Einstein’s Field Equations. After you’ve found the one with the properties you are looking for, you can ask Maple to set up your environment so you can use this solution in your general relativity computations.
While I personally don’t have the background to understand his work, I talk to people that do, and I’m selfishly looking forward to the positive feedback that will come.
3. Manage and analyze heterogeneous data
My fellow product manager, Daniel, is a statistician and is devoted to data science.
This dedication means he understands the needs of people like himself, and the tools he needs to build to better manage problems in data science.
For Maple 2016, this has resulted in a new storage format for heterogeneous data called a DataFrame.
DataFrames let you index into and analyze labeled data more easily.
I’m currently using DataFrames to store labeled stock data and construct a stock screener.
4. Series expansions
We employ a team of mathematicians - led by Juergen Gerhard – to talk to mathematicians year-round, and understand the types of problems they want to solve. Throughout the year, Juergen’s group is pushing the mathematical boundaries of Maple forward.
For Maple 2016, he was very enthusiastic about the increased scope of the series function; in earlier releases, you could not calculate the following expansion of the harmonic function.
His enthusiasm is contagious, and is evidence of the impact his work will have with his fellow mathematicians.
5. Fluid properties
Given my background, this is something I’ve wanted for a long time. Maple 2016 has a units-aware database of fluid properties.
You can now solve problems in thermal science and engineering, without resorting to charts, look-up tables, or third-party add-ins to get fluid properties.
I can finally say goodbye to my dog-eared copy of Rogers and Mayhew.
You can find lots more detail about this release on the Maplesoft website: Do More with Maple 2016.
I look forward to your feedback!