VISUALISATION / GRAPHICS
13 January 2012
Reviewed by Felix Grant
With release 8.6, OriginLab’s data flagship visualisation and analysis product goes 64 bit. As with most products, a parallel 32-bit option is provided and the decision on which to use is made at the time of installation. The particular interaction of product release and publication dates means that I am writing on the basis of a beta copy.
Some things may change in the final market release, which will be available by the time you read this or shortly afterwards. Since I have encountered no problems, those changes can be expected to reflect final improvements.
I was able to install and use both versions on a 64-bit platform (though it’s hard to imagine why a real user would want to do this, assuming that it remains possible, with the market release) and so run parallel comparisons, as well as running the 32-bit program on a netbook. For run-of-the-mill tasks and moderate sized data sets there is little subjective difference between the two installations, but the native 64-bit advantages become increasingly clear as limits are pushed. Examination of background clock logs show faster results as data set size grows, which would add up to significant productive gains over a period. Those data set sizes themselves can now exceed the previous two-gigabyte boundary; size limits are now said to be set by hardware, although I only tested to three gigabytes myself.
On a data set just under the two gigabytes, superior performance under 64 bit becomes clear even to subjective observation. The 32-bit version, on the other hand, retains all of the responsiveness for which OriginPro is known, even within the one gigabyte RAM and one megahertz processor confines of the netbook.
Moving on to the program’s function set there is a range of developments more often associated with full digit upgrades. From additions, developments and refinements, I’ll pick out a few that I particularly liked. First there are the ‘gadgets’, an innovation introduced a few incremental updates ago which continue to be a productivity focus. Three new additions have been made this time around.
One of these new gadgets offers a useful, usable and flexible instant sigmoid fit implementation which can be applied (as with other gadgets) to a region of interest selected on the fly from a visualised dataset. It has intelligent presets and autosets, a ‘fly out’ context control menu, and can call on OriginPro’s own built in growth and pharmacology functions or on user defined additions to them. Multiple curves can be concatenated, means and standard deviations and other visual annotations applied.
The other two gadgets, conceptually related though separately implemented, are an independent variable cursor and a curve intersection examiner. Both can be applied exploratively and dynamically to multiple curves within an onscreen plot, will document results on the plot itself, and can export them to a new worksheet.
OriginPro 8.6 was reviewed on 10 November 2011