MaplePrimes Commons General Technical Discussions

The primary forum for technical discussions.

Here's a podcast that covers a few topics that get discussed on MaplePrimes.

We all like finding the right tool for the job. In the Sep 2021 episode of the Engineering Matters Podcast “#127 – Tools for Thinking” you can discover how far engineers have come in their quest for better tools.

It features contributions from several members of the Maplesoft team as they discuss how the user experience shapes the adoption of engineering software tools.

The hosts have fun describing some early calculation hacks - from early Sumerian farmers using their fingers as tally counters, to the paper calculus notebooks of the 1850s used by historical engineering figures like Isambard Kingdom Brunel. What starts as a necessity gets improved over time to save them mental effort – all driven by the way users interact with the tool.

This episode gives a behind-the-scenes look at some of the decisions that shaped the engineering product that is now Maple Flow from its roots in Maple. Maplesoft CEO Laurent Bernardin describes the spark of innovation in the late 1970s, when two professors at the University of Waterloo developed Maple. “The two professors got together, realising that there was a need in math education for a tool to help with calculations and setting out to create that tool. And Maple was born quickly, was adopted across universities around the globe.”

As engineers typically work in ways far removed from the regular academic setting, Product Manager Samir Khan weighs in on the shift that comes from a different user base: “Different tools have different design intents,” says Khan. “Some tools are designed for programmers such as code development environments, like Visual Studio. Some environments are aimed at mathematicians, people who need precise control over the mathematical structure of their equations, and some environments are designed for engineers who simply want to throw down a few equations on a virtual whiteboard and manipulate them and get results.”

The conversation also touches on the design of the GUI itself. Margaret Hinchcliffe, Maple’s Senior GUI Developer expresses the importance of smoothing the user experience - drilling down and taking “the typical tasks that people want to do the most, and make those the most immediate. So really focusing on how many keystrokes do they need to do this task?”.

Ironically the idea of the paper notebook still has features that are desirable. Khan muses on the idea that Maplesoft has “taken the first step with having a virtual whiteboard, but Maple Flow still relies on keyboard and mouse input”. He offers suggestions for what may be next in the industry: “It’d be interesting to see if we can take advantage of modern advances in deep learning and AI to imitate what humans are doing and interpreting handwritten mathematics.”

You can listen to the entire podcast (~30 min) here:

From a tweet by Tamás Görbe : plotting Chebyshev polynomials in polar coordinates leads to some interesting pictures.  Screenshot here, link to the worksheet (and some perhaps interesting puzzles) at the end.

Dear all,

Reversion of series---computing a series for the functional inverse of a function---has been in Maple since forever, but many people are not aware of how easy it is.  Here's an example, where we are looking for "self-reverting" series---which I called "ambiverts".  Anyway have fun.

PS There looks to be some "code rot" in the branch point series for Lambert W in Maple, which we encounter in that worksheet.  Or, I may simply have not coded it very well in the first place (yeah, that was mine, once upon a time).  Checking now.  But there is a workaround (albeit an ugly one) shown in that worksheet.


... and two suggestions to the development team

In ?DiscreteValueMap (package Statistics) it's given an example concerning rhe Geometric distribution along with this comment:
"The Geometric distribution is discrete but it necessarily assumes integer values, so (bold font is mine) it also does not have a DiscreteValueMap"

This sentence seems to indicate that "because a distribution is discrete over the set of integers, it cannot have a DiscreteValueMap", some sort of logical implication...

But my feeling is that the Geometric distribution (or any other discrete distribution) does not have a DiscreteValueMap because this attribute has just not been specified when defining the distribution.


GeomRV := RandomVariable(Geometric(1/2)):
f := unapply(ProbabilityFunction(GeomRV, n), n):

AnotherGeomRV := Distribution(
DiscreteValueMap(AnotherGeomRV , n);

Thus having the set of natural numbers as support doesn't imply that DiscreteValueMap cannot exist.

Suggestion 1: modify the ?DiscreteValueMap help page so that it no longer suggests that some discrete distributions cannot have a .DiscreteValueMap 


I think there exists a true problem with the definition of discrete distributions in Maple: the ProbabilityFunction of a (discrete) random variable) takes non zero values outside their definition set.
For instance

ProbabilityFunction(GeomRV, Pi);  # something non null

To ivercome this problem I defined a new Geometric distribution this way (not entirely satisfying):


GeomRV := RandomVariable(Geometric(1/2)):
f := unapply(ProbabilityFunction(GeomRV, n), n):
g := n -> (1-ceil(n-floor(n)))*f(n)    # (1-ceil(n-floor(n))) = 1 if n in Z, 0 otherwise

AnotherGeomRV := Distribution(
      'DiscreteValueMap'=(n->n),  # is wanted
ProbabilityFunction(AnotherGeomRV, 2);
ProbabilityFunction(AnotherGeomRV, Pi);

PS: None of the statistics based upon the  ProbabilityFunction (Mean, Variance, ... ) is correctly computed with the previous construction. This could be easily overcome by completing this definition, just as its done in Maple, for all the requires statistics, for instance 

AnotherGeomRV := Distribution(
      'Mean'=1   # or more generally (1-p)/p form Geometric(p)

Suggestion 2: modify the way discrete distributions are defined in Maple in order to avoid ProbabilityFunction to return wrong values.

I am a high school Teacher in Denmark, who have been using Maple since version 12, more than 12 years ago. I suggested it for my school back then and our math faculty finally decided to purchase a school license. We are still there. We have watched Maple improve in a lot of areas (function definitions, context panels, graphically etc., etc ). Often small changes makes a big difference! We have been deligted. We we are mostly interested in improvements in GUI and lower level math, and in animations and quizzes. I have also been enrolled as a beta tester for several years yet. 

One of the areas, which is particually important is print and export to pdf, because Danish students have to turn in their papers/solutions at exams in pdf format! I guess the Scandinavian countries are ahead in this department. They may quite possible be behind in other areas however, but this is how it is. 

Now my point: Maplesoft is lacking terrible behind when regarding screen look in comparison with print/export to pdf. 

I am very frustrated, because I have been pinpointing this problem in several versions of Maple, both on Mapleprimes and in the beta groups. Some time you have corrected it, but it has always been bouncing back again and again! I have come to the opinion that you are not taking it seriously? Why?

Students may loose grades because of missing documentations (marking on graphs etc.). 

I will be reporting yet another instance of this same problem. When will it stop?



Wirtinger Derivatives in Maple 2021

Generally speaking, there are two contexts for differentiating complex functions with respect to complex variables. In the first context, called the classical complex analysis, the derivatives of the complex components ( abs , argument , conjugate , Im , Re , signum ) with respect to complex variables do not exist (do not satisfy the Cauchy-Riemann conditions), with the exception of when they are holomorphic functions. All computer algebra systems implement the complex components in this context, and computationally represent all of abs(z), argument(z), conjugate(z), Im(z), Re(z), signum(z) as functions of z . Then, viewed as functions of z, none of them are analytic, so differentiability becomes an issue.


In the second context, first introduced by Poincare (also called Wirtinger calculus), in brief z and its conjugate conjugate(z) are taken as independent variables, and all the six derivatives of the complex components become computable, also with respect to conjugate(z). Technically speaking, Wirtinger calculus permits extending complex differentiation to non-holomorphic functions provided that they are ℝ-differentiable (i.e. differentiable functions of real and imaginary parts, taking f(z) = f(x, y) as a mapping "`ℝ`^(2)->`ℝ`^()").


In simpler terms, this subject is relevant because, in mathematical-physics formulations using paper and pencil, we frequently use Wirtinger calculus automatically. We take z and its conjugate conjugate(z) as independent variables, with that d*conjugate(z)*(1/(d*z)) = 0, d*z*(1/(d*conjugate(z))) = 0, and we compute with the operators "(∂)/(∂ z)", "(∂)/(∂ (z))" as partial differential operators that behave as ordinary derivatives. With that, all of abs(z), argument(z), conjugate(z), Im(z), Re(z), signum(z), become differentiable, since they are all expressible as functions of z and conjugate(z).



Wirtinger derivatives were implemented in Maple 18 , years ago, in the context of the Physics package. There is a setting, Physics:-Setup(wirtingerderivatives), that when set to true - an that is the default value when Physics is loaded - redefines the differentiation rules turning on Wirtinger calculus. The implementation, however, was incomplete, and the subject escaped through the cracks till recently mentioned in this Mapleprimes post.


Long intro. This post is to present the completion of Wirtinger calculus in Maple, distributed for everybody using Maple 2021 within the Maplesoft Physics Updates v.929 or newer. Load Physics and set the imaginary unit to be represented by I


with(Physics); interface(imaginaryunit = I)


The complex components are represented by the computer algebra functions


[Im(z), Re(z), abs(z), argument(z), conjugate(z), signum(z)]


They can all be expressed in terms of z and conjugate(z)

map(proc (u) options operator, arrow; u = convert(u, conjugate) end proc, [Im(z), Re(z), abs(z), argument(z), conjugate(z), signum(z)])

[Im(z) = ((1/2)*I)*(-z+conjugate(z)), Re(z) = (1/2)*z+(1/2)*conjugate(z), abs(z) = (z*conjugate(z))^(1/2), argument(z) = -I*ln(z/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)), conjugate(z) = conjugate(z), signum(z) = z/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)]


The main differentiation rules in the context of Wirtinger derivatives, that is, taking z and conjugate(z) as independent variables, are

map(%diff = diff, [Im(z), Re(z), abs(z), argument(z), conjugate(z), signum(z)], z)

[%diff(Im(z), z) = -(1/2)*I, %diff(Re(z), z) = 1/2, %diff(abs(z), z) = (1/2)*conjugate(z)/abs(z), %diff(argument(z), z) = -((1/2)*I)/z, %diff(conjugate(z), z) = 0, %diff(signum(z), z) = (1/2)/abs(z)]


Since in this context conjugate(z) is taken as - say - a mathematically-atomic variable (the computational representation is still the function conjugate(z)) we can differentiate all the complex components also with respect to  conjugate(z)

map(%diff = diff, [Im(z), Re(z), abs(z), argument(z), conjugate(z), signum(z)], conjugate(z))

[%diff(Im(z), conjugate(z)) = (1/2)*I, %diff(Re(z), conjugate(z)) = 1/2, %diff(abs(z), conjugate(z)) = (1/2)*z/abs(z), %diff(argument(z), conjugate(z)) = ((1/2)*I)*z/abs(z)^2, %diff(conjugate(z), conjugate(z)) = 1, %diff(signum(z), conjugate(z)) = -(1/2)*z^2/abs(z)^3]


For example, consider the following algebraic expression, starting with conjugate

eq__1 := conjugate(z)+z*conjugate(z)^2



Differentiating this expression with respect to z and conjugate(z) taking them as independent variables, is new, and in this example trivial

(%diff = diff)(eq__1, z)

%diff(conjugate(z)+z*conjugate(z)^2, z) = conjugate(z)^2


(%diff = diff)(eq__1, conjugate(z))

%diff(conjugate(z)+z*conjugate(z)^2, conjugate(z)) = 1+2*z*conjugate(z)


Switch to something less trivial, replace conjugate by the real part ReNULL

eq__2 := eval(eq__1, conjugate = Re)



To verify results further below, also express eq__2 in terms of conjugate

eq__22 := simplify(convert(eq__2, conjugate), size)



New: differentiate eq__2 with respect to z and  conjugate(z)

(%diff = diff)(eq__2, z)

%diff(Re(z)+z*Re(z)^2, z) = 1/2+Re(z)^2+z*Re(z)


(%diff = diff)(eq__2, conjugate(z))

%diff(Re(z)+z*Re(z)^2, conjugate(z)) = 1/2+z*Re(z)


Note these results (10) and (11) are expressed in terms of Re(z), not conjugate(z). Let's compare with the derivative of eq__22 where everything is expressed in terms of z and conjugate(z). Take for instance the derivative with respect to z

(%diff = diff)(eq__22, z)

%diff((1/4)*(z^2+z*conjugate(z)+2)*(z+conjugate(z)), z) = (1/4)*(2*z+conjugate(z))*(z+conjugate(z))+(1/4)*z^2+(1/4)*z*conjugate(z)+1/2


To verify this result is mathematically equal to (10) expressed in terms of Re(z) take the difference of the right-hand sides

rhs((%diff(Re(z)+z*Re(z)^2, z) = 1/2+Re(z)^2+z*Re(z))-(%diff((1/4)*(z^2+z*conjugate(z)+2)*(z+conjugate(z)), z) = (1/4)*(2*z+conjugate(z))*(z+conjugate(z))+(1/4)*z^2+(1/4)*z*conjugate(z)+1/2)) = 0

Re(z)^2+z*Re(z)-(1/4)*(2*z+conjugate(z))*(z+conjugate(z))-(1/4)*z^2-(1/4)*z*conjugate(z) = 0


One quick way to verify the value of expressions like this one is to replace z = a+I*b and simplify "assuming" a andNULLb are realNULL

`assuming`([eval(Re(z)^2+z*Re(z)-(1/4)*(2*z+conjugate(z))*(z+conjugate(z))-(1/4)*z^2-(1/4)*z*conjugate(z) = 0, z = a+I*b)], [a::real, b::real])

a^2+(a+I*b)*a-(1/2)*(3*a+I*b)*a-(1/4)*(a+I*b)^2-(1/4)*(a+I*b)*(a-I*b) = 0


normal(a^2+(a+I*b)*a-(1/2)*(3*a+I*b)*a-(1/4)*(a+I*b)^2-(1/4)*(a+I*b)*(a-I*b) = 0)

0 = 0


The equivalent differentiation, this time replacing in eq__1 conjugate by abs; construct also the equivalent expression in terms of z and  conjugate(z) for verifying results

eq__3 := eval(eq__1, conjugate = abs)



eq__33 := simplify(convert(eq__3, conjugate), size)



Since these two expressions are mathematically equal, their derivatives should be too, and the derivatives of eq__33 can be verified by eye since z and  conjugate(z) are taken as independent variables

(%diff = diff)(eq__3, z)

%diff(abs(z)+abs(z)^2*z, z) = (1/2)*conjugate(z)/abs(z)+z*conjugate(z)+abs(z)^2


(%diff = diff)(eq__33, z)

%diff((z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)+conjugate(z)*z^2, z) = (1/2)*conjugate(z)/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)+2*z*conjugate(z)


Eq (18) is expressed in terms of abs(z) = abs(z) while (19) is in terms of conjugate(z) = conjugate(z). Comparing as done in (14)

rhs((%diff(abs(z)+abs(z)^2*z, z) = (1/2)*conjugate(z)/abs(z)+z*conjugate(z)+abs(z)^2)-(%diff((z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)+conjugate(z)*z^2, z) = (1/2)*conjugate(z)/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)+2*z*conjugate(z))) = 0

(1/2)*conjugate(z)/abs(z)-z*conjugate(z)+abs(z)^2-(1/2)*conjugate(z)/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2) = 0


`assuming`([eval((1/2)*conjugate(z)/abs(z)-z*conjugate(z)+abs(z)^2-(1/2)*conjugate(z)/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2) = 0, z = a+I*b)], [a::real, b::real])

(1/2)*(a-I*b)/(a^2+b^2)^(1/2)-(a+I*b)*(a-I*b)+a^2+b^2-(1/2)*(a-I*b)/((a+I*b)*(a-I*b))^(1/2) = 0


simplify((1/2)*(a-I*b)/(a^2+b^2)^(1/2)-(a+I*b)*(a-I*b)+a^2+b^2-(1/2)*(a-I*b)/((a+I*b)*(a-I*b))^(1/2) = 0)

0 = 0


To mention but one not so famliar case, consider the derivative of the sign of a complex number, represented in Maple by signum(z). So our testing expression is

eq__4 := eval(eq__1, conjugate = signum)



This expression can also be rewritten in terms of z and  conjugate(z) 

eq__44 := simplify(convert(eq__4, conjugate), size)



This time differentiate with respect to conjugate(z),

(%diff = diff)(eq__4, conjugate(z))

%diff(signum(z)+z*signum(z)^2, conjugate(z)) = -(1/2)*z^2/abs(z)^3-z^3*signum(z)/abs(z)^3


Here again, the differentiation of eq__44, that is expressed entirely in terms of z and  conjugate(z), can be computed by eye

(%diff = diff)(eq__44, conjugate(z))

%diff(z/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)+z^2/conjugate(z), conjugate(z)) = -(1/2)*z^2/(z*conjugate(z))^(3/2)-z^2/conjugate(z)^2


Eq (25) is expressed in terms of abs(z) = abs(z) while (26) is in terms of conjugate(z) = conjugate(z). Comparing as done in (14),

rhs((%diff(signum(z)+z*signum(z)^2, conjugate(z)) = -(1/2)*z^2/abs(z)^3-z^3*signum(z)/abs(z)^3)-(%diff(z/(z*conjugate(z))^(1/2)+z^2/conjugate(z), conjugate(z)) = -(1/2)*z^2/(z*conjugate(z))^(3/2)-z^2/conjugate(z)^2)) = 0

-(1/2)*z^2/abs(z)^3-z^3*signum(z)/abs(z)^3+(1/2)*z^2/(z*conjugate(z))^(3/2)+z^2/conjugate(z)^2 = 0


`assuming`([eval(-(1/2)*z^2/abs(z)^3-z^3*signum(z)/abs(z)^3+(1/2)*z^2/(z*conjugate(z))^(3/2)+z^2/conjugate(z)^2 = 0, z = a+I*b)], [a::real, b::real])

-(1/2)*(a+I*b)^2/(a^2+b^2)^(3/2)-(a+I*b)^4/(a^2+b^2)^2+(1/2)*(a+I*b)^2/((a+I*b)*(a-I*b))^(3/2)+(a+I*b)^2/(a-I*b)^2 = 0


simplify(-(1/2)*(a+I*b)^2/(a^2+b^2)^(3/2)-(a+I*b)^4/(a^2+b^2)^2+(1/2)*(a+I*b)^2/((a+I*b)*(a-I*b))^(3/2)+(a+I*b)^2/(a-I*b)^2 = 0)

0 = 0





Edgardo S. Cheb-Terrab
Physics, Differential Equations and Mathematical Functions, Maplesoft

I’m very pleased to announce that the Maple Calculator app now offers step-by-step solutions. Maple Calculator is a free mobile app that makes it easy to enter, solve, and visualize mathematical problems from algebra, precalculus, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations, right on your phone.  Solution steps have been, by far, the most requested feature from Maple Calculator users, so we are pretty excited about being able to offer this functionality to our customers. With steps, students can use the app not just to check if their own work is correct, but to find the source of the problem if they made a mistake.  They can also use the steps to learn how to approach problems they are unfamiliar with.

Steps are available in Maple Calculator for a wide variety of problems, including solving equations and systems of equations, finding limits, derivatives, and integrals, and performing matrix operations such as finding inverses and eigenvalues.

(*Spoiler alert* You may also want to keep a look-out for more step-by-step solution abilities in the next Maple release.)

If you are unfamiliar with the Maple Calculator app, you can find more information and app store links on the Maple Calculator product page.  One feature in particular to note for Maple and Maple Learn users is that you can use the app to take a picture of your math and load those math expressions into Maple or Maple Learn.  It makes for a fast, accurate method for entering large expressions, so even if you aren’t interested in doing math on your phone, you still might find the app useful.