August/September 2006

FEATURE

Three new ideas...

Like the London buses for which I'm patiently waiting as I type, three Maple add-ins came along at once recently. All promise to extend the capabilities of release 10 in different ways - one internal, one bringing in the functionality of an outside product, and one providing outward support for another. Two have been pressed into service in a speciation study - several steps outside my usual working habits but, in every case, both educational and effective.

FEATURE

The maths package problem

Babbage's Analytical Engine (1834) was conceived as a general purpose calculating machine and, in 1836, he imagined a version of this machine that could manipulate symbols as well as numbers[1]. The first computer programs designed to carry out symbolic computations were described in 1953 by Kahrimanian[2] and Nolan[3]. Since then, many general tools for symbolic and numeric computation have been developed. They include REDUCE (1968), Macsyma (1970), Maple (1983), MATLAB (1984), and Mathematica (1988).

FEATURE

Leading the computational chemistry field

There are very few names in theoretical computational chemistry bigger than Professor Henry 'Fritz' Schaefer. He has published more than 1,000 papers on the subject and written most of the best-known books. He has a research team of about 25 at the University of Georgia, which continues to astound the world of chemistry with exactly what can be derived using computational techniques. He started his career by overthrowing previous notions about simple molecules like methylene.

FEATURE

A parallel universe

For The MathWorks and its flagship product, Matlab, the future is parallel. The MathWorks aims to bring personal supercomputing to the desktop, according to Jim Tung, the company’s chief development officer. Towards the end of last year, the company announced version two of its Distributed Computing Toolbox, a significant milestone on the road to making Matlab a fully parallel program.

FEATURE

Three new ideas...

Like the London buses for which I'm patiently waiting as I type, three Maple add-ins came along at once recently. All promise to extend the capabilities of release 10 in different ways - one internal, one bringing in the functionality of an outside product, and one providing outward support for another. Two have been pressed into service in a speciation study - several steps outside my usual working habits but, in every case, both educational and effective.

Feature

Gemma Church finds out how astronomers are using simulations to investigate the extremities of our universe

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Turning data into scientific insight is not a straightforward matter, writes Sophia Ktori

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The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) is driving the development of new energy-efficient practices for HPC, as Robert Roe discovers

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William Payne investigates the growing trend of using modular HPC, built on industry standard hardware and software, to support users across a range of both existing and emerging application areas

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Robert Roe looks at developments in crash testing simulation – including larger, more intricate simulations, the use of optimisation software, and the development of new methodologies through collaboration between ISVs, commercial companies, and research organisations