@ It is great and inspiring (as Edgardo said) to hear from users "in the trenches" how Maple enabled them to tackle problems sucessfully that might otherwise not have been tackled.

I would like to add to this the enormous potential Maple has as a teaching tool. We all know about Robert Lopez' work and many of us have gained insight from his posts, webinars etc. I myself used Maple as a *the* teaching tool in a course on accelerator physics I held last year, with good enough success that I get to do it again next year. While there is room for improvement in the course (as it always is), I have evidence that several of my students kept using Maple in their work afterwards drawing success as well as pleasure from using it. Class was always lively and engaged. What a difference compared to the standard white-board way of teaching!

Now, that being all good, we should actually reflect on where we want Maple to go. As a commercial enterprise with bottom lines to meet, Maplesoft has to obviously cater to their users while working hard to recruit new ones. What are the features most lacking form Maple? I cannot answer for the majority, obviously, but what about image processing? Here I am thinking less about Photoshop but along the lines of ImageJ. I have analysed complete experiments with Maple and since Maple's image processing capabilities are inadequate, I used ImageJ to extract the info from the gathered images (our raw data) and then read the results into Maple. This could be easier. On the other hand, is this what Maple should do, or should Maple stick to its roots as mathematical software? Matlab seems to shine in this area (I am not a Matlab user but I see what others are doing with it) so do we need another one like this? On the other hand, the combination of mathematics with numerical work makes a lot of Maple's worth. Speaking of Matlab, a limitation I consider serious (for my own work) is Maple's inability to import most Matlab's data constructs (everything beyong simple arrays is ignored, for the most part).

Personally I benefit a lot from Maple's ability to combine mathematics with numerical work, so any development in that area will benefit my work. But then, others needs may differ. And, of course here on MaplePrimes we do not reach new users.

I do a bit disagree on Alan's assessment of the use of spreadsheets. I use them all the time for information best conveyed in tabular form (like machine settings or what have you). I even use them for quick plots (usually when I do not have Maple around). They are of enourmous value even in engineering and science; although, to be sure, if you use Excel to solve diff. equations you are grossly abusing it for a purpose it was never meant to do. I have never ever used the "Solver" facility of it (which is a kind-of least-squares minimizer, I think).

Anyway, my thanks to Alan and all the follow-on posters for a great and inspiring thread.

Mac Dude

(Needless to say, but I am not affiliated with Maplesoft either, just a satisfied user).