Samir Khan

1744 Reputation

19 Badges

14 years, 158 days

My role is to help customers better exploit our tools. I’ve worked in selling, supporting and marketing maths and simulation software for all my professional career.

I’m fascinated by the full breadth and range of application of Maple. From financial mathematics and engineering to probability and calculus, I’m always impressed by what our users do with our tools.

However much I strenuously deny it, I’m a geek at heart. My first encounter with Maple was as an undergraduate when I used it to symbolically solve the differential equations that described the heat transfer in a series of stirred tanks. My colleagues brute-forced the problem with a numerical solution in Fortran (but they got the marks because that was the point of the course). I’ve since dramatized the process in a worksheet, and never fail to bore people with the story behind it.

I was born, raised and spent my formative years in England’s second city, Birmingham. I graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Nottingham, and after completing a PhD in Fluid Dynamics at Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, I started working for Adept Scientific – Maplesoft’s partner in the UK.

MaplePrimes Activity

These are Posts that have been published by Samir Khan

We've just released Maple Flow 2022.2. The update enhances the user experience in many areas, including user interaction, performance, and the interface.

Performance is a signficant focus.

  • Maple Flow prioritizes the evaluation of the math you see on screen, giving you faster calculation updates for the part of the worksheet you’re working on, with more math being evaluated as you scroll down.
  • We also have more users developing larger documents. Adding white space to large documents, and interacting with sections is now more response and snappier.

In response to many user requests for faster interaction, a new optional evaluation method lets you simply hit equals to evaluate math and display results.

We've also refreshed the in-product Application Gallery with a new look and many new applications (this includes a library of section properties).


You can also optionally restrict printing to the left-most column of pages, allowing you to have off-screen supporting calculations not displayed in the final report.

You'll find a complete list of enhhacements here, and you can download the update here.

Mathematical visualizations are beautiful representations of technical phenomena.  From the visual “perfection” of the golden spiral to the pattern generation of fractals, so many works of art can be boiled down to formulas and equations.  Such is the case with N.G. de Bruijn’s medallion and frieze patterns.  Given two starting values, two lines of mathematical formulae produce a recursive sequence of complex numbers.  We can associate these numbers with the four cardinal directions, following the steps on a plot to produce beautiful patterns.  The patterns are of two different types, the closed medallion or repeating frieze, depending on the starting values.

When you need a complex math visualization, Maple is a perfect place to go.  A demonstration of medallion and frieze patterns is available in the Maple Application Center, in which you can vary the starting values and watch the outcome change, along with more detailed background information.  However, there’s an even simpler way to explore this program with the help of Maple Learn.  Maple Learn has the same computational power as Maple, streamlined into an easy-to-use notebook style.  

Maple Learn includes many core features, and anything missing can be ported in through Maple.  This is done using Maple’s DocumentTools:-Canvas package.  The package contains the necessary procedures to convert Maple code into a “canvas”, which can be opened as a Maple Learn sheet.  This makes the whole document look cleaner and allows for easy sharing with friends.

The medallion and frieze document, along with the additional contextual information, is now also available in Maple Learn’s Document Gallery, home to over one thousand example documents covering calculus, geometry, physics, and more.

We've just released Maple Flow 2022.1. We've squeezed in a few new features as requested by our users - I'll describe them below.

Before we get to that, I'd like to give everyone an open invitation to grab a Maple Flow trial - I'd love to know what you think. I'm fanatically devoted to making Flow better, but I can only do that if you give me your feedback.

You can specify if you want your results to be globally displayed using engineering, scientific, or fixed notation

Supporting images can be cut and pasted from another source directly into Maple Flow using standard clipboard operations.

You can now insert a time stamp in headers and footers. And you can optionally place a border around the header, footer or body of the page.

New content in the help system makes it easier to get started with advanced features, including techniques for optimization and signal processing.

Go here to learn more...and don't forget to grab a trial.


We’ve just released Maple Flow 2022!

The name of the product – Flow - references a psychological concept known as the flow state. You might know it as being in the zone. That’s when you’re so immersed in your present task that outside distractions melt away, your problem solving skills are firing on all four cylinders, and feel-good neurochemicals flood your brain.

Maple Flow supports a mathematical flow state through a simple design that productively guides the loosely structured and somewhat haphazard way that most people work.

Since Maple Flow's release a year ago, we've regularly added new features through updates, and we're commited to maintaining that momentum. These updates are driven by user feedback, so keep sending your comments and requests my way.

Here’s what we have lined up for you in Flow 2022.

Flow 2022 features a new in-product help system - see it in action here:

In addition to copying & pasting equations and expressions from a help page, you can open entire help pages as worksheets. The nature of Flow means that the help pages have a certain immediacy that becomes very tangible once you start working with them.

You can change the background colour of containers to highlight important results or draw the reader's attention to specific groups of containers.

Prior versions of Flow were a toolbox that needed to be installed on top of Maple.

Now, Flow 2022 is completely standalone, and does not require an existing installation of Maple.This makes managing an installation of Flow far simpler.

A new options menu let you specify how you want worksheet hyperlinks to open – in the same application window, or in a new application window.

We've also made many other quality-of-life changes to Flow. Head on over to the Maple Flow website to learn more or download an evaluation.

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new math tool called Maple Flow. Here, I’ll outline our motivation for developing this product, and talk about its features.

A large fraction of Maple users are professional engineers .

All use Maple, but very few say that they do math for a living, in much the same way a plumber wouldn’t say they use a wrench for a living.

They say things like:

  • I design concrete retaining walls
  • I simulate the transients on a transmission line
  • I design heat exchangers
  • I model the absorbency of diapers
  • I design subsea pipelines
  • I need to optimize the trajectory of a space shuttle
  • I work for a power generation company doing load flow analysis
  • I model how a robot arm needs to move

Some of these applications are mathematically simple (but are based on scientific principles, such as the conservation of heat, mass and momentum). The equations consist of basic arithmetic operations, trig and log functions, sprinkled with the occasional numeric integration.

Sometimes, the equations are already formalized in design guides, published by organizations like the IEEE, ASME or ISO. Given the specific physical context, engineers just need to implement the calculations in the right order (this is especially true for Civil and Structural engineering). These applications require you to think at an engineering level.

These are what we call design calculations, done by design engineers.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of these applications are mathematically complex. You might need to derive equations, manipulate PDEs, work with quaternions or transformation matrices, or do some programming. These applications require you to think at a mathematical level.

Let’s call the engineers doing this type of work research engineers. Research engineers are often more closely aligned with mathematicians than design engineers.

So we have design engineers and research engineers (and of course we have engineers with feet in both camps, to a varying degree).

Research engineers and design engineers do different mathematical things, and have different mathematical needs. Both groups use Maple, but one size doesn’t always fit well. Either the toe pinches a little, or the shirt is a mite too baggy.

This is where Maple Flow enters stage right.

Maple Flow is a new tool that we’ve built (and are continuing to expand and improve) with the needs of design engineers in mind.

  • The worksheet lets you put math anywhere – just point, click and type
  • The evaluation model is forward-in-space (unlike Maple’s forward in time evaluation model). This means the execution order is explicitly given by the position of the math on the canvas.
  • The worksheet updates automatically, so results are never stale
  • We’ve made several simplifications to massage away some of the complexity of the Maple programming language.
  • You can use nearly all of tools in the Maple programming language.

Here’s how we see people using Maple Flow. They

  • Enter a few major equations somewhere, followed by some parameters scattered around
  • Make the equations “see” the parameters by moving the parameters above the equations
  • Insert any parameters or equations you’ve forgotten, and move them into position, shifting the existing content out of the way to make room
  • Add text, and perhaps an image or plot
  • Finally, align math and format text for a presentable document

I’ve been using Maple Flow for a while now. I like the fact that the nature of Maple Flow means that you don’t have to start with a grand plan, with every computational detail planned out in advance. You’re encouraged to make things up as you go along, and gradually sculpt your calculations into shape.

Basically, Maple Flow doesn’t issue stiff penalties for making mistakes. You fix them, and then move on.

I also like that Maple Flow makes you feel like you’re “touching” your equations, shifting things about easily with either the mouse or the keyboard. There’s a certain tactility and immediacy to Maple Flow that gives me a micro dose of dopamine every time I use it.

Maple Flow’s freeform interface lets you experiment with space, alignment and layout, drawing attention to different groups of equations.

For example, you can design calculation documents that look like this.

You can use nearly all of the Maple programming language in Flow. Here’s a command from the plots package.

Here’s fsolve in action.

The Maple Flow website has more information, including a demo video.

As ever, your feedback is gratefully received.

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