Personal Stories

Stories about how you have used Maple, MapleSim and Math in your life or work.

Who should be considered an 'expert'? How does one achieve expert status? In this guest MaplePrimes blog post, 'Understanding Maple' author Ian Thompson discusses his view of what makes an expert, his journey of becoming an expert in Maple, and the process of putting together and perfecting this resource for Maple users.

 

In days of 8-bit computers, one would sometimes encounter individuals who knew everything about a particular device or piece of software. Single programmers wrote entire applications or games, and some could debug their work by looking directly at a core dump (a printout of the numbers stored in the computer’s memory). Some even managed to take computers beyond their specifications by exploiting design loopholes that the manufacturers hadn’t foreseen or intended. It would be fair to classify such individuals as ‘experts’.

Fast forward twenty five years, and the picture is far less clear. The complexity of computers and software has grown to such an extent that even relatively small smartphone applications are created by teams of developers, and nobody understands every aspect of a CPU chip, much less an entire PC or tablet. Who now should be classified as an expert? One possibility is that an expert is a person who may sometimes need to look up the details of a rarely used command or feature, but who is never confused or frustrated by the behavior of the system or software in question (except where there is a bug), and never needs help from anyone, except perhaps on rare occasions from its creators.

This rather stringent definition makes me an expert in only two areas of computing: the Fortran programming language, and the mathematical computation system Maple. An argument could be made for the typesetting system LATEX, but whilst this has a large number of expert users, there is also a much smaller group of more exalted experts, who maintain the system and develop new packages and extensions. It would be fair to say that I fall into the first category, but not the second.*

How does one achieve expert status? Some software actively prevents this, by hiding its workings to such an extent that fully understanding its behavior is impossible. Where it is possible to gain expert status, I have experienced two very different routes, both starting during my time as a research student, when it became clear that Fortran and Maple would be useful in my work. There were several parallels. I knew a little about both, having used them for basic tasks as an undergraduate. However, working out why things went wrong and how to fix them was time-consuming and unrewarding, since it often relied on magic recipes obtained from unreliable sources, and in many cases I didn’t really understand why these worked, any more than I understood why my own attempts had not. I realized then that knowing a little was at the root of these problems. Partial knowledge, supplemented by contradictory, outdated and even downright bad advice from websites and well-meaning individuals (some of whom invariably labor under false pretences of their own expert status) is not an efficient way to approach scientific computing. In fact it’s just a recipe for frustration. In the case of Fortran, fixing this turned out to be easy, because there are lots of good books on the subject. Reading one of these eliminated all of my problems with the language at a stroke. I can’t claim that I remembered every command and its syntax, nor do I know them all now. This is hardly surprising — the Fortran Language Standard (a very terse document that sets out everything the language provides) now extends to more than 600 pages. Instead, the book provided a general picture of how things work in Fortran, and showed the right way to go about tackling a problem. This investment in time has since paid itself back hundreds of times over.

The route to expert status in Maple was far more challenging. Its own help pages give a very comprehensive description of individual commands, but they are intended as a reference guide, and if it’s possible to become an expert using these alone, then I never discovered the correct order in which to read them. I found a number of books on Maple in the university library, but most were too basic to be useful, and others focused on particular applications. None seemed likely to give me the general picture — the feel for how things work — that would make Maple into the time-saving resource it was intended to be.

The picture became clearer after I taught Maple to students in three different courses. Nothing encourages learning better than the necessity to teach someone else! Investigating the problems that students experienced gave me new opportunities to properly understand Maple, and eventually the few remaining gaps were filled in by the Programming Guide. This is a complex document, similar in length to the Fortran Language Standard, but with more examples. Personally I would only recommend it to readers with experience of programming language specifications. Students now started to ask how I came to know so much about Maple, and whether there was a book that would teach them the same. Since no such book existed, I decided to write one myself. As the old adage goes, if you want something doing properly, do it yourself. The project soon began to evolve as I tried to set down everything that the majority of Maple users need to know. I’ve always hated books that skirt around important but difficult topics, so where before I might have used a dirty trick to circumnavigate a problem, now I felt compelled to research exactly what was going on, and to try to explain it in a simple, concise way. When the first draft was complete, I approached Cambridge University Press (CUP). The editor arranged for reviews by four anonymous referees**, and by Maplesoft’s own programming team. This led to several major improvements. My colleague, Dr Martyn Hughes, also deserves a mention for his efforts in reading and commenting on four different drafts. Meanwhile, Maplesoft continued to release new editions of their software, and the drafts had to be revised to keep up with these. The cover was created by one of CUP’s designers, with instructions that it should not look too ‘treeish’ — one might be surprised by the number of books that have been written about Maple syrup, and it would be a shame for Understanding Maple to be mixed up with these by potential readers browsing the internet. Then there were the minor details: how wide should the pages be? What font should be used? Should disk be spelled with a ‘c’ or a ‘k’? Could quotes from other sources be used without the threat of legal action over copyright infringement? One rights holder laughably tried to charge $200 for a fragment of text from one of their books. Needless to say, no greenbacks were forthcoming.

The resulting book is concise, with all the key concepts needed to gain an understanding of Maple, alongside numerous examples, packed into a mere 228 pages. It gives new users a solid introduction, and doesn’t avoid difficult topics. It isn’t perfect (in fact I have already started to list revisions that will be made if a second edition is published in the future) but I’ve seen very few problems that can’t be solved with the material it contains. Only time will tell if Understanding Maple will it create new experts. At the very least, I would certainly like to think it will make Maple far easier to grasp, and help new users to avoid some of the traps that caught me out many years ago.

 

Learn more about Understanding Maple, which is published by Cambridge University Press.

I just feel that if at least one person less experienced than me reads this it will be a worth while post, because it will help them avoid things that eluded me when I was younger.


 

The omitted function definitions are not relevant to the reason for which I decided to post about this. I would like the maple user to simply observe how many variables are involved in the relation's (R) three equalities in the consideration of the output.

 

The reason I believe this is important, is that it is sometimes very easy to believe induction is sufficient proof of the truth value of a relation over the superset of a subset that has been enumerated, much like the example of the coefficients of the
"105^(th) cyclotomic polynomial if one were to inductively reason statements about the coeffiecents of the previous 104 polynomials."

 

 

A[n, k, M] = abs(C[0](n, k, M))/abs(C[1](n, k, M)); B[n, k, M] = abs(C[0](n, k, M))/abs(C[2](n, k, M)); E[n, k, M] = abs(C[1](n, k, M))/abs(C[2](n, k, M))

R

"`𝓃`(A[n,k,M])=`𝓃`(B[n,k,M]), `𝓃`(E[n,k,M])=`𝒹`(A[n,k,M]),`𝒹`(B[n,k,M])=`𝒹`(E[n,k,M])]"

for t to 7 do R(t, 2, 30) end do

[1 = 1, 1 = 1, 1 = 1]

 

[1 = 1, 1 = 1, 1 = 1]

 

[1 = 1, 1 = 1, 1 = 1]

 

[1 = 1, 1 = 1, 1 = 1]

 

[1 = 1, 1 = 1, 1 = 1]

 

[1 = 1, 1 = 1, 1 = 1]

 

[1 = 11^(1/2)*7^(1/2), 11^(1/2)*7^(1/2) = 1, 7 = 7]

(1)


 

Download INDUCTION_IS_NOT_YOUR_FREN.mw

Typically, we publish a “Meet Your Developers” profile, where you can get an inside look at the lives of our developers. Today, we’re excited to bring you something a little different, a glimpse into the life of Maple Product Manager, Samir Khan.

Let's get right to it.

1. What do you do at Maplesoft?

I’m 50% of the product management team for Maple. I act as an interface between our developers, mathematicians, marketing, sales, and users.

I spend a lot of time speaking to current and potential customers – this is the most important part of my job.

At the beginning of each development cycle, I work with the developers to put together a list of proposed features. Then, during the year, I try to keep development on track to meet the proposed goals and provide continual feedback.

I also develop applications that demonstrate Maple’s functionality in new and different ways (most are on the Application Center).

2. What did you study in school?

I studied Chemical Engineering.

3. What area(s) of Maple are you currently focusing on in your development?

While I don’t do any direct development of Maple features, I sometimes prototype code as a proof of concept. The developers then look at me with a sense of disdain, tear my prototype apart, and rewrite my code from the ground up.

4. What’s the coolest feature of Maple that you’ve had a hand in developing?

While I generally don’t develop any production code, I’ve been responsible for driving the ThermophysicalData package forward

5. What do you like most about working at Maplesoft? How long have you worked here?

I’ve worked at Maplesoft since 2008. It’s a cliché, but I like the people first and foremost.

I also like the flexibility of my role. Within reason, I can devote part of my time doing things that I think will benefit the company. For example, I get to write lots of applications about subjects that interest me (usually thermodynamics or chemistry).

6. Favourite hobby?

I gave up all my hobbies when kids appeared on the scene. Before that, I wrote spreadsheets for financial modeling

Now, I like to do home science experiments with my son. Yesterday, I mixed yeast with hydrogen peroxide to demonstrate an exothermic reaction.

7. What do you like on your pizza?

Pineapple and mushrooms.

8. What’s your favourite movie?

I don’t really have a single favourite movie, but these movies that have the greatest impact on me over the last few years

  • Interstellar
  • Annihilation
  • Dunkirk
  • The Witch
  • Frozen (yes, really)

9. What skill would you love to learn? (That you haven’t already) Why?

I want to learn how to juggle to amuse my kids. However, I don’t have the hand-eye coordination to be any good

10. Who’s your favourite mathematician?

That’s a really dreary question.

Instead, I’ll answer two completely different questions.

  • My favorite kids TV show is Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom
  • I usually listen to Slayer on the drive into work

 

Thanks Samir!

Last week, my colleague Erik Postma and I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with a group of bright and motivated high school students at the Math for Real: High School Math Solves Real Problems workshop held at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences in Toronto, and sponsored by the Fields Institute and NSERC PromoScience. The purpose of this three-day workshop was to train students for the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge, also known as IM2C.

The IM2C is hosted by York University and run by the IM2C-Canada committee, consisting of parents and high school teachers, as well as faculty and students in York’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. In this competition, students working in small teams have five days to solve a mathematical modelling problem in diverse application areas. To support the “Real World” aspect of the contest, students are expected not just to showcase their mathematical creativity and problem-solving skills, but they are also asked to clearly communicate their analyses and conclusions through a written report and visualizations.

The contest allows students to use appropriate software tools to help them with their tasks. Of course I am biased but I can’t help thinking that Maple is the perfect tool for students wanting to do a combination of prototyping, modelling, visualization and document-preparation. The IM2C organizers also thought that the students could benefit from our software, so Erik gave an hour-long introduction to Maple. I was impressed by the students’ enthusiastic remarks and sometimes challenging questions, though admittedly they were partly motivated by the chance to receive as prizes our highly coveted limited-quantity “Math Matters” t-shirts.

The workshop also introduced the students to other software products, taught modelling and writing skills, and had them work on fun practice problems. Over the lunch break, I was struck by the sense of camaraderie at this event, which probably should not have surprised me, as unlike many other competitions involving mathematics, this one is a true team-based activity. Both Erik and I are eager to see what the students will be doing with Maple. Responding to the students’ enthusiasm and interest, Maplesoft has agreed to offer complimentary Maple licenses to all students participating in IM2C. 

As a Corporate Affiliate of the Fields Institute, Maplesoft is pleased to provide training and support to students and researchers that come to Fields for its many events. Developers like myself are encouraged to participate in the institute’s events when possible, and I’ve had the opportunity to attend a number of workshops in the past few years. I encourage you to look at their wide range of activities and to consider visiting the culturally diverse city of Toronto!

Hello,

 

It has come to my attention that Alan Baker has recently passed away, and not being of an institutional affliation it was some what late in me finding out.

But his work was of huge inspiration to me, so I felt as if it should be noted how brilliant this man was, and how much he ought to be missed be the mathematical community at large.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Baker_(mathematician)

--- Prolog.ue ---

The best things in life come free of charge.

Happiness, love, and wisdom of expertise are first few that hit my mind.

As a business economist, I keep my eyes keenly open to opportunities for growth; such as Maple 2017 training session.

It was a Saturday afternoon in Waterloo, ON, this chilly Feburary which was blessed by snowstorm warning.

 

--- Encountering with Maple ---

I was aware of Maple for many years back when my academic career began.

In fact, Maple was available in the lab computers at university. 

But I did not know what to do with it.

Nor did I use any mathematics softwares until recently, but I had this thought : one day I could learn.

The motivation for this `learn how to use it' did not occur to me for a long time (14 years!!).

Things changed this year when I enrolled to an Electrical Engineering program at Lassonde.

Mind you, I have already been using various types of languages and tools such as: Python, C, Java, OpenOfficeSuites, Stata, SAS, Latex just to mention a few.

These stuffs also run on multiple platforms which I am sure you have heard of if you're reading this post; Windows, OSX and Linux. And Maple supports all these major operating systems.

 

--- Why do I like Maple ---

During the first week of school, Dr. Smith would ask us to purchase and practice using MATLAB because it had a relatively easy learning curve for beginners like python and we were going to use it for labs.

Furthermore, students get a huge discount (i.e. $1500 to $50) for these softwares.

Then, the professor also added; "Maple is also a great tool to use, but we won't use it for this class".

ME: ' Why not ? '

The curiosity inside me gave in and I decided to try both!

After all, my laziness in taking derivatives by hand or the possibility of making mistake would disappear if I can verify results using software.

That's it...!

Being able to check correct answer was already worth more than $50.

I can not emphasize this point enough; 

For people in the industry being paid for their time, or students like me who got a busy schedule can not afford to waste any time. (i.e. need to minimize homework effort & frustration, while maximizing the educational attainment & final grades)

Right? Time is money.

Don't we all just want more spare time for things we care?

Googling through many ambiguous Yahoo Answers or online forums like Stackoverflow replies are often misleading and time consuming. 

I have spent years (estimated 3000+ hours) going through those wildly inaccurate webpages hoping for some clearly written information with sub-optimal outcome.

Diverting many hours of study time is not something a first year S.T.E.M. students can afford.

 

--- Maple Training ---

Now you know about my relationships with Maple; Let me describe how the training session went.

I will begin with the sad news first, =(

First of all, there was no coffee available when I arrived. It arrived only after lunch.

Although it was a free event aside other best things in life, this was only a material factor I didn't enjoy at the site. 

Still a large portion of Canadians start their work with a zolt of caffeine in my defence.

Secondly, there was a kind of assumption which expected attendee were familiar with software behavior.

A handful of people were having trouble opening example file, perhaps because of their browser setting or link to preferred software by OS.

Not being able to follow the tutorials as the presenter demonstrated various facets of software substantially diminished the  efficacy of training session for those who could not be on the same page.

These minor annoyances were the only drawbacks I experinced from the event.

 

Here comes the happy side, =)

1. The staffs were considerate enough to provide vegetarion options for inclusive lunch as well as answering all my curious, at times orthogonal questions regarding Maplesoft company.

2. Highly respectable professionals were presenting themselves; 

That is, Prof. Illias Kotsireas, Dr. Erik Postma and Dr. Jürgen Gerhard.

I can not appreciate enough of their contribution for the training in an eloquent and humble manners.

To put it other way, leading of the presentation was well structured and planned out.

In the beginning, Prof. Kotsireas presented `Introduction to Maple' which included terminology and basic behaviors of Maple (i.e. commands and features) with simple examples you can quickly digest. Furthermore, Maple has internal function to interface with Latex! No more typing hours of $$s and many frac{}{}, \delta_{} to publish. In order for me to study all this would have been two-weeks kind of commitment in which he summarized in a couple of hours time. Short-cut keys that are often used by his project was pretty interesting, which will improve work efficiency.

After a brief lunch, which was supplied more than enough for all, Dr. Erik Postma delivered a critical component of simluation. That is, `Random Number Generation'. Again, he showed us some software-related tricks such as `Text mode' vs. `Math mode'.  The default RNG embedded in the software allows reproducible results unless we set seed and randomize further. Main part of the presentation was regarding `Optimization of solution through simulation'. He iteratively improved efficiency of test model, which I will not go in depth here. However, visually and quantitatively showing the output was engaging the attendees and Maple has modularized this process (method available for all the users!!).

Finally, we got some coffee break that allowed to me to push through all the way to the end. I believe if we had some coffee earlier less attendees would have left.

The last part of the training was presented by Dr. Jürgen Gerhard. In this part, we were using various applications of Maple in solving different types of problems. We tackled combinatorics of Fibonacci sequence by formula manipulation. In this particular example he showed us how to optimize logic of a function that made a huge impact in processing time and memory usage. Followed by graph theory example, damped harmonic oscillator, 2 DOF chaotic system, optimization and lastly proof of orthocentre by coding. I will save the examples for you to enjoy in future sessions. 

The way they went through examples were super easy to follow. This can only be done with profound understanding of the subject and a lot of prior effort in preparing the presentation.
 

I appreciate much efforts put together by whom organized this event, allocating their own precious weekend time and allowing many to gain opportunity to learn directly from the person in the house.

 

--- Epilogue ---

My hope for Maple usage lies in enhancing education outcome for first year students, especially in the field of Science and Economics. This is a free opportunity for economic empowerment which is uncaptured.

Engineering students are already pretty good at problem solving, and will figure things out as I witnessed my colleagues have.

However, students of natural sciences and B.A. programs tend to skimp on utilizing tools due to lack of exposure.

Furthermore, I am supporting their development of SaaS, software as service, which delivers modules like gRPC does.

Also, I hope the optimization package from prior version written by Dr. Postma will become available to public sometime.

Here's a BIG thank you to staffs once again, and forgive me for any grammatical errors from rushed writing. I tried to incorporate as much observation as possible gathered from the event.

To contact me, my email is hyonwoo.kee (at) gmail.com;

 

Hello, 

I study mainly subjects that fall under umbrella of number theory, but i have specified a little further in the worksheet. This is really a request for assistance, because in as much as i have met so many brilliant people online via social media etc,  I would always love to meet more, and especially ones who are more experienced in this field. 

 

Basically i am too cheap and old to think about going to a good university, so I am trying to get free advice from the people who have probably completed doctorates in the relevant field. Got to be honest I say.

 

Anyway my contact email is at the top of the attached worksheet.

 

First thing that stood out to me about the distributions produced in this worksheet is how sparse the number of points is for N=17 relative to all the other values of N.

EXAMPLE_FOR_MAPLE3.mw

 

Edit: Another example worksheet added.

MAPLE_EXAMPLE_13.mw

We’re kicking off 2018 right, with another Meet Your Developers interview! This edition comes from Erik Postma, Manager of the Mathematical Software Group.

To catch up on previous interviews, search the “meet-your-developers” tag.

Without further ado…

 

  1. What do you do at Maplesoft?
    I’m the manager of the mathematical software group, a team of 7 mathematicians and computer scientists working on the mathematical algorithms in Maple (including myself). So my work comes in two flavours: I do the typical managerial things, involving meetings to plan new features and solve my team’s day to day problems, and in the remaining time I do my own development work.
     
  2. What did you study in school?
    I studied at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. The first year, I took a combined program of mathematics and computer science; then for the rest of my undergrad, I studied mathematics. The program was called Applied Mathematics, but with the specialization I took it really wasn’t all that applied at all. Afterwards I continued in the PhD program at the same university, where my thesis was on a subject in abstract algebra (Lie algebras over finite fields).
     
  3. What area(s) of Maple are you currently focusing on in your development?
    I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past two years making the facilities for working with units of measurement in Maple easier to use. There is a very powerful package for doing this that has been part of Maple for many years, but we keep hearing from our users it’s difficult to use. So I’ve worked on keeping the power of the package but making it easier to use.
     
  4. What’s the coolest feature of Maple that you’ve had a hand in developing?
    This was actually working on a problem in a part of the code that existed long before I started with Maplesoft. We have a very clever algorithm for drawing random numbers according to a custom, user-specified probability distribution. I wrote about it on MaplePrimes in a series of four blog posts, here. I’ve talked at various workshops and the like about this algorithm and how it is implemented in Maple.
     
  5. What do you like most about working at Maplesoft? How long have you worked here?
    I love working at the crossroads of mathematics and computer science; there aren’t many places in the world where you can do that as much as at Maplesoft. But the best thing is the people I work with: us mathematicians are all crazy in slightly different ways, and that makes for a very interesting working environment.
     
  6. Favourite hobby?
    Ultimate frisbee. I captain a mixed (i.e., coed) team called The Clockwork. (We play in orange jerseys – it references the book/movie A Clockwork Orange.) We play in a couple of local leagues, and some of the other members also work here. We don’t win much – but we work hard and have fun!
     
  7. What do you like on your pizza?
    Mushrooms. Mushrooms on everything!
     
  8. What’s your favourite movie?
    Probably Black Book, a dark movie about the Dutch resistance in the second world war from 2006, directed by Paul Verhoeven. I think what I like best about it is that it highlights the moral shades of grey in even so morally elevated a group as the resistance.
     
  9. What skill would you love to learn? Why?
    I’d love to learn to speak Russian! I’m trying, but I have a very hard time with it. It would allow me to communicate with my in-laws more easily; they speak Russian.
     
  10. Who’s your favourite mathematician?
    Oh, so many to choose from! I’m torn between:
  • Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), known as the first programmer.
  • Felix Klein (1849-1925), driving force behind a lot of research into geometries and their underlying symmetry groups.
  • Wilhelm Killing (1847-1923), a secondary school teacher who made big contributions to the theory of Lie algebras.

Or wait, can I choose my wife?

Many of you enjoyed our profile on one of our developers, Paulina Chin, so we’re happy to bring you another one!

Today, we’ll be talking with John May, Senior Developer of Maple. Let’s get started.

  1. What do you do at Maplesoft?
    Until recently I was consulting on-site at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory helping people there more effectively solve their engineering problems using Maplesoft products.  But my main job that I am back to full time now is the development and maintenance of various parts of the Maple library.
     
  2. What did you study in school?
    I studied both Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of Oregon,  focusing a lot on Abstract Algebra.  In graduate school, I specialized more in computation mathematics like computer algebra and numerical analysis.  My Ph.D. work focused on effective numerical algorithms for problems in polynomial algebra – with implementations in Maple!
     
  3. What area(s) of Maple are you currently focusing on in your development?
    Right now I am focused on addressing complaints I’ve gotten from engineers about the usability of units with other parts of the math library.
     
  4. What’s the coolest feature of Maple that you’ve had a hand in developing?
    A lot of the cool things I’ve built live pretty deep in the internals of Maple.  I’ve done a lot of meta-heuristic tuning to seamlessly integrate high-performance libraries into top-level Maple commands.

    I had a lot of fun developing a lot of the stuff for manipulation and visualization of colors in the ColorTools package.
     
  5. What do you like most about working at Maplesoft? How long have you worked here?
    I started working at Maple in 2007, but I’ve been a Maple user since 1997.  I love being part of the magic that brings powerful algorithmic mathematics to everyone.  The R&D team is also full of eccentric nerds who are great fun to work with.
     
  6. Favourite hobby?
    It varies by the season, but right now it is prime for mountain biking in southern California.  I ride my local trails a couple times a week, and when I get I chance, I love to get away on epic bikepacking adventures (like this one: https://www.bikemag.com/features/two-wheeled-escape-one-hour-from-l-a/  this is me: https://cdn.bikemag.com/uploads/2016/05/16File.jpg ).
     
  7. What do you like on your pizza?
    Anything and everything. Something different every time. My all-time favorite pie my from grad school days is the “Rio Rancho” from the dearly departed That’s Amore Pizza (which was next to the comic book store and across the street from North Carolina State University).  It was an olive oil and mozzarella pizza with chopped bacon that was covered in sliced fresh roma tomatoes and drizzled with ranch dressing when it came out of the oven. 
     
  8. What’s your favourite movie?
    It’s really hard to pick just one.  So, I’ll go with the safe answer and say the greatest movie of all time, and “Weird Al” Yankovic’s only foray into movies, UHF, is my favorite.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098546/
     
  9. What skill would you love to learn? (That you haven’t already) Why?
    Another hard one.  I feel like I’ve dabbled in lots of things that I would like to get better at.  At the top of the list is probably unicycling.  I’d love to get good enough to play Unicyle Football or do Muni (mountain unicyling).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_unicycling
    http://www.unicyclefootball.com/
     
  10. Who’s your favourite mathematician?
    Batman. https://youtu.be/AcMEckOyoaM

 

The Railway Challenge is a competition designed by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), aimed at engaging young engineers with the rail industry.  The challenge, now in its seventh successive year, brings together teams of university students, as well as apprentices and graduates working in industry across the world to test their business knowledge, design ability and technical skills in a live test environment.

The Railway Challenge at Sheffield (RCAS) is an extracurricular student-led activity within the Mechanical Engineering department at the university of Sheffield, that designs, codes and manufactures a 10 1/4 inch gauge miniature locomotive to compete in the IMechE’s  Railway Challenge.  The locomotive is assessed in accordance with a set of strict rules and a detailed technical specification, such as traction, ride comfort, and a business case. The locomotives are tested live at a competition, which takes place in June at the Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire, where several categories of winners and an overall Railway Challenge champion is crowned.

The team consists of around twenty members, and students studying Mechanical Engineering and even cross discipline can get involved as soon as they come to the University, getting into to the design of components within the suspension or braking systems for example, before proceeding to manufacture and test; allowing the students to experience all the stages of an engineering product as well as skills gained by working in the team such as effective communication, time management and financial planning.

Last year the team was granted a sponsorship from Maplesoft, and as a result, huge improvements were made within the team. Overall the team jumped from finishing in 7th place to in the summer winning the maintainability challenge and finishing in 4th place overall – mostly down to the electronics working for the first year ever!

 

Using Maplesoft’s donation the team switched form a central CRIO control system to a distributed network using I2C protocols and Arduino hardware. This did away with some of the electrical teething problems the team has suffered in previous years. It also introduced our Mechanical Engineers to coding that they would otherwise not do in their course.

This year Maplesoft have again sponsored RCAS. The team is hoping to use the licenses to perform their structures calculations in an easy way to keep track of them for use in the design report. They are also hoping to use MapleSim for dynamics modelling, to assist with suspension design, and designing any electronics or control elements, such as filter design and motor control.

My interface has frozen, but above is a screen shot of what is by far the most unusual response from the CAS in the i guess 8 or so years ive been using it in total.

 

*updated situation its allowing me to interrupt evaluation

This is Maple:

These are some primes:

22424170499, 106507053661, 193139816479, 210936428939, 329844591829, 386408307611,
395718860549, 396412723027, 412286285849, 427552056871, 454744396991, 694607189303,
730616292977, 736602622363, 750072072203, 773012980121, 800187484471, 842622684461

This is a Maple prime:


In plain text (so you can check it in Maple!) that number is:

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111116000808880608061111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111866880886008008088868888011111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111116838888888801111111188006080011111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111110808080811111111111111111111111118860111111111111111111111
111111111111111110086688511111111111111111111111116688888108881111111111111111
111111111111111868338111111111111111111111111111880806086100808811111111111111
111111111111183880811111111111111111100111111888580808086111008881111111111111
111111111111888081111111111111111111885811188805860686088111118338011111111111
111111111188008111111111111111111111888888538888800806506111111158500111111111
111111111883061111111111111111111116580088863600880868583111111118588811111111
111111118688111111111001111111111116880850888608086855358611111111100381111111
111111160831111111110880111111111118080883885568063880505511111111118088111111
111111588811111111110668811111111180806800386888336868380511108011111006811111
111111111088600008888688861111111108888088058008068608083888386111111108301111
111116088088368860808880860311111885308508868888580808088088681111111118008111
111111388068066883685808808331111808088883060606800883665806811111111116800111
111581108058668300008500368880158086883888883888033038660608111111111111088811
111838110833680088080888568608808808555608388853680880658501111111111111108011
118008111186885080806603868808888008000008838085003008868011111111111111186801
110881111110686850800888888886883863508088688508088886800111111111111111118881
183081111111665080050688886656806600886800600858086008831111111111111111118881
186581111111868888655008680368006880363850808888880088811111111111111111110831
168881111118880838688806888806880885088808085888808086111111111111111111118831
188011111008888800380808588808068083868005888800368806111111111111111111118081
185311111111380883883650808658388860008086088088000868866808811111111111118881
168511111111111180088888686580088855665668308888880588888508880800888111118001
188081111111111111508888083688033588663803303686860808866088856886811111115061
180801111111111111006880868608688080668888380580080880880668850088611111110801
188301111111111110000608808088360888888308685380808868388008006088111111116851
118001111111111188080580686868000800008680805008830088080808868008011111105001
116800111111118888803380800830868365880080868666808680088685660038801111180881
111808111111100888880808808660883885083083688883808008888888386880005011168511
111688811111111188858888088808008608880856000805800838080080886088388801188811
111138031111111111111110006500656686688085088088088850860088888530008888811111
111106001111111111111111110606880688086888880306088008088806568000808508611111
111118000111111111111111111133888000508586680858883868000008801111111111111111
111111860311111111111111111108088888588688088036081111860803011111111863311111
111111188881111111111111111100881111160386085000611111111888811111108833111111
111111118888811111111111111608811111111188680866311111111111811111888861111111
111111111688031111111111118808111111111111188860111111111111111118868811111111
111111111118850811111111115861111111111111111888111111111111111080861111111111
111111111111880881111111108051111111111111111136111111111111188608811111111111
111111111111116830581111008011111111111111111118111111111116880601111111111111
111111111111111183508811088111111111111111111111111111111088880111111111111111
111111111111111111600010301111111111111111111111111111688685811111111111111111
111111111111111111111110811801111111111111111111158808806881111111111111111111
111111111111111111111181110888886886338888850880683580011111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111008000856888888600886680111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

This is a 3900 digit prime number. It took me about 400 seconds of computation to find using Maple.  Inspired by the Corpus Christi College Prime, I wanted to make an application in Maple to make my own pictures from primes.

It turns out be be really easy to do because prime numbers are realy quite common.  If you have a piece of ascii art where all the characters are numerals, you could just call on it and get a prime number that is still ascii art with a couple digits in the corner messed up (for a number this size, I expect fewer than 10 of the least significant digits would be altered).  You may notice, however, that my Maple Prime has beautiful corners!  This is possible because I found the prime in a slightly different way.

To get the ascii art in Maple, I started out by using to import ( )  and process the original image.  First then and to get a nice 78 pixel wide image.  Then to make it a pure 1-bit black or white image.

Then, from the image, I create a new Array of the decimal digits of the ascii art and my prime number.  For each of the black pixels I randomly use one of the digits or and for the white pixels (the background) I use 's.  Now I convert the Array to a large integer and test if it is prime using (it probably isn't) so, I just randomly change one of the black pixels to a different digit (there are 4 other choices) and call again. For the Maple Prime I had to do this about 1000 times before I landed on a prime number. That was surprisingly fast to me! It is a great object lesson in how dense the prime numbers really are.

So that you can join the fun without having to replicate my work, here is a small interactive Maple document that you can use to find prime numbers that draw ascii art of your source images. It has a tool that lets you preview both the pixelated image and the initial ascii art before you launch the search for the prime version.

Prime_from_Picture.mw

With the launch of Maple 2017, we really wanted to showcase some of the amazing people that work so hard to make Maple. We wanted to introduce our developers to our awesome user community, put names to faces, and have some fun in the process.

We’ll be doing this Q&A session from time to time with team members from the Maple, MapleSim, Maple T.A. and Möbius development groups.

My first Q&A is with Math Architect, Paulina Chin. If you’re a regular MaplePrimes user, you’ll know her as @pchin. Let’s get right into the questions.

  1. What do you do at Maplesoft?

I’m a member of the Math Software group. Much of my time goes toward developing and maintaining parts of the Maple library, but I occasionally develop Maple content related to math education as well.

  1. What did you study in school?

I started in Applied Mathematics and then continued with graduate work in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. My graduate and post-doc research  were in the area of numeric computation.

  1. What area(s) of Maple are you currently focusing on in your development?

For many years, I’ve been working on the plotting and typesetting features in Maple. I also work on the Grading package and related applications.

  1. What’s the coolest feature of Maple that you’ve had a hand in developing?

The Typesetting (2-D math) system in Maple is undoubtedly the most challenging and complex project I’ve worked on, and it involves careful coordination among a team of developers. I’m not sure others would see it as cool, because the features are not flashy like some of the visualization features I’ve worked on. However, whenever we implement a new feature and it works well, it’s really satisfying because it makes mathematics that much more accessible to users.

  1. What do you like most about working at Maplesoft? How long have you worked here?

I’ve been at Maplesoft 17 years and my work has never been boring. I especially enjoy being surrounded by a very diverse and dedicated group of co-workers, and it’s terrific when we get new students, interns and visitors who come from all parts of the world. All of these people contribute to the great atmosphere here.

  1. Favorite hobby?

I like discussing books as much as reading them. I run several book clubs, including the one here at Maplesoft. I also enjoy working with young people and volunteer at my daughter’s high school, helping students train for programming contests.

  1. What do you like on your pizza?

Pineapple and hot peppers.

  1. What’s your favourite movie?

I have so many favourites that it’s hard to answer this question. At the moment, I might say Notorious, The Empire Strikes Back, and Annie Hall, but ask me again next week and I’ll probably give you a different list.

  1. What skill would you love to learn? (That you haven’t already) Why?

I wish I could play a musical instrument. I know a number of highly skilled amateur and professional musicians, and I’ve always admired their abilities.

  1. Who’s your favourite mathematician?

I’d have to say it’s Euclid. When I was in Grade 6, my teacher saw I was bored with the math exercises we were doing and gave me a book on geometric constructions. That was the start of a life-long fascination with math. I even named my cat Euclid but she didn’t live up to the name, as she turned out to be lovable but not very smart.

Download New_ReportGeneration_with_ExcelData.mw

Dear Users,

I have received a congratulations from a Mapleprime user for my post (on Finite Element Analysis - Basics) posted two years earlier. I  did not touch that subject for two years for obvious reasons. Now that a motivation has come, I have decided to post my second application using embedded components. This I was working for the past two years and with the support from Maplesoft technical support team and Dr.RobertLopez. I thank them here for this workbook has come out well to my satisfaction and has given me confidence to post it public.

About the workbook

I have tried to improve the performance of a 2-Stroke gasoline engine to match that of a four stroke engine by using exhaust gas recirculation. Orifice concept is new and by changing the orifice diameter and varying the % of EGR, performance was monitored and data stored in Excel workbook. These data can be imported to Maple workbook by you as you want for each performance characteristic. The data are only my experimental and not authentic for any commercial use.

This Maple workbook generates curves from data for various experiments conducted by modifying the field variables namely Orifice diameter, % Exhaust gas Recirculation and Heat Exchanger Cooling. Hence optimum design selection is possible for best performance.

Thanks for commenting, congratulating or critisising!! All for my learning and improving my Maple understanding!! 

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