Mathematics on the Pocket PC

January 2nd, 2008 | Categories: math software, Mobile Mathematics, pocket pc | Tags:

Around 3 years ago Russell Herman asked the question “Can Mathematics be done on pocket PCs?” and he came up with some very interesting results that included graphing packages, computer algebra systems and even an implementation of Latex! Well 3 years is a long time in the world of software so I thought I would ask the question again and post the results on here.

Surprisingly, little has changed in some areas and many of the entries in Russel’s 3 year old article are still bang up to date! For example, the only way to get Maxima on a pocket PC is still by using Rainer Keuchel’s port of Maxima 5.5 from 2001. Rainer’s port of Pari-GP is also the only version that runs on windows mobile at the present time which is a shame because the platform is much more capable than it was then.

There are also some changes for the worst – for example it seems that it is no longer possible to get the programmable calculator, rdcalc, as the developers website has disappeared. If anyone discovers a (legal) way of obtaining this software then please let me know.

It’s not all bad though – there have been some superb additions to the mathematical software library on the pocket PC. One of the most obvious ones is the superb package – SpaceTime – which really demonstrates what is possible on this platform. Then there is AndrĂ© Stemper’s port of version 4.2 of Gnuplot which is a great improvement on the old 3.7 version offered by the prolific Rainer Keuchel. Other new packages include YacasCE, pocket LME, Eigenmath PPC and Planmaker 2006.

My intention is to keep this page up to date so if you know of any other good pieces of mathematical pocket pc software then please let me know and I will include them here.

The entries that I have personally tested will have something like “works on WM6″ or “Does not work on WM6″ as part of the description. If this is missing then it simply means I have not yet got round to testing it yet.

Calculators

Amazingly powerful Computer algebra systems and beautiful plotting packages are all well and good but sometimes what you need is a good, old fashioned calculator. There are literally hundreds available for the pocket PC and sorting the wheat from the chaff can be a painful (and potentially expensive) experience. Personally, I use Calc98 and have never looked back.

  • Calc98 (free/commercial) An easy to use but powerful scientific calculator that has all of the functions you would expect and several that you would not. It works just like most standard scientific calculators by default (eg type in 1.2 and then press Sin to get the sine of 1.2) but will also work in Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) if that’s what you prefer. Some of its features include functions from science/engineering, complex numbers, matrices, vectors, statistics and finance. There is a free version available for download as well as a paid-for upgrade. Works on WM 6 devices.

Graphical and Programmable Calculators

The packages in this section allow you to generate plots and create simple programs.

  • AllWave MathCal Pocket PC Edition (commercial)
  • Easy Calc – (free) This was my calculator of choice back when I was using a palm PDA rather than a pocket PC. Lots of functions, easy to use and free – you don’t get much better than that. It also works on the Pocket PC via the Palm emulation software – Style Tap.
  • Gnuplot 4.2 – (free) The popular open-source plotting package, gnuplot, ported to the pocket PC by AndrĂ© Stemper. Works on Windows Mobile 6 – I have also written a review of this application.
  • Gnuplot 3.7 – (free) An older port of gnuplot to the pocket PC – this time by Rainer Keuchel. I have not yet checked that this works on Windows Mobile 6 devices but it worked just fine on Windows Mobile 2003 SE.
  • MathTablet – (commercial)
  • Pocket Atlantis – (commercial)
  • RealCalculator – (commercial) A very nice looking shareware calculator that can handle complex numbers, matrices and 2 and 3D plotting among other things. Thanks to Petr for alerting me to this one.

Computer Algebra Systems

In an ideal world it would be possible to have something like Mathematica or Matlab on a pocket PC. Unfortunately the world is far from ideal but there are still quite a few very nice packages out there that can do symbolic and matrix based calculations.

  • Eigenmath PPC – (free) This is a port of the open-source computer algebra system, eigenmath, to the pocket PC.
  • Formula 1 – (commercial) This commerical CAS requires the Jeode JVM and only works on specific machines. I have not used it myself and so have no idea if it works on WM 6 devices.
  • LME for pocket PC – (free) This technology preview is a Matlab-like programming language aimed at numerical computing. Works on WM6.
  • Maxima 5.5 for Win CE - (free) – I have not yet tried this myself because the installation is complicated enough to need instructions and I am feeling lazy. I will do soon though – Promise!
  • Pari-GP for Pocket PC (link dead as of March 2008) – (free) Pari-GP is a well known open source computer algebra system that has many features which are useful to number theorists. This pocket PC port is out of date (2002) but is still useful. It requires pocket console to be installed and works fine on Windows Mobile 6 devices.
  • qdCas -(free) qdCas (quick n dirty Computer Algebra System) is a freeware port of GIAC/XCAS developed by Bernard Parisse.
  • SpaceTime Mathematics - (commercial) This package is truly amazing and includes advanced plotting features, symbolic calculus and scripting. Possibly the closest thing to Mathematica in the Windows Mobile world. Works on WM 6.
  • YacasCE – (free) a port of the open source CAS, Yacas (Yet Another Computer Algebra System) in german. Works on Windows Mobile 6.

Calculator Emulators

Some people use a particular calculator for so long that they get very attached to it – I have known people who have used the same device for over 20 years because they know it inside out and it ‘just works’. Inevitably though even the best made calculator will die eventually and when it does you either have to move on and find a new calculator, try and find a working 2nd hand model or bring your old favourite back to life via the wonders of emulation.

  • Emu48 CE/PPC – (free) Emulator for the HP48GX calculator.
  • Free42 – (free) Simulator for the HP42-S calculator. Works fine on WM6 devices
  • Pocket 16C - (commercial) Emulator for the HP-16C calculator
  • VTI Pocket Emulator – (free) Emulator for various Texas Instruments calculators(eg TI-89,TI-86,TI-85 etc). This requires the original ROM files from a TI calculator.

An excellent article concerning the details of emulating Texas Instruments calculators on the pocket PC can be found over at the XDA developer Wiki.

Spreadsheets

Pocket Excel comes as standard on my Windows Mobile device but it might not be enough for some people. The following alternatives have had good reviews but I have not yet tried them myself.

Programming Languages

I did consider creating a separate post for languages but in the end I thought I would just include them here for the sake of completeness.

  • J (free) – A successor to APL that is very well suited to mathematics. Works on WM 6. Thanks to ‘fairplay’ for pointing this application out to me
  • OpenLisp (free) – Works on WM6 – Thanks to Arseny for this one.
  • Python 2.5 (free) Works on WM6.
  • Pocket Scheme (free) Works on WM6.

Fractals

…because they are pretty!

Misc

  • Latex for pocket pc (free) – Yet another port by Rainer Keuchel. I got this working on my old 2003 SE device but have not yet found the time to try it on WM6. I thought I had seen another,more recent, PPC Latex port somewhere on the net but cannot relocate it.

If you know of any packages that you think should be included in this list then please leave a comment and let me know.

Update – 25th March 2008 – added OpenLisp

  1. fairplay
    January 3rd, 2008 at 17:03
    Reply | Quote | #1

    I thought that you should add J (http://www.jsoftware.com/) to the Programming Languages list. As successor of Kenneth Iverson APL J is very convenient for math

  2. admin
    January 3rd, 2008 at 17:31
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Thanks for that – link added and application installed.

  3. petr
    January 9th, 2008 at 22:01
    Reply | Quote | #3

    Hi,
    you forgot my favourite calculator – RealCalculator (http://vorwerk-stengel.de/)

  4. admin
    January 10th, 2008 at 11:32
    Reply | Quote | #4

    Hi Petr
    Thanks for telling me about it – I have now included in the list and hope to find the time to evaluate it at some point.

  5. February 28th, 2008 at 17:16
    Reply | Quote | #5

    Thanks for the article. Very helpful for choosing what calculator program to put on my pda.

  6. Arseny
    March 17th, 2008 at 10:53
    Reply | Quote | #6

    also there is a freeware OpenLISP port on PocketPC
    works fine on WM6

    http://christian.jullien.free.fr/downloads/

  7. ryan
    June 8th, 2008 at 01:11
    Reply | Quote | #7

    Hi, I came across your site when looking for a Pocket PC program that will help me brush up on my algebra. It seems as though your site has a great deal of info that I might use. However, I have a very difficult time reading the blue on grey. Is there a way that I can change the background from my PC (just for my viewing of course)?

    Thanks,

    Ryan

  8. admin
    June 10th, 2008 at 09:44
    Reply | Quote | #8

    Hi Ryan

    I am guessing that you are using Internet Explorer 6. My site looks awful on IE 6 and I am told that this is due to bugs in IE’s rendering engine. At the moment I have no idea how to fix it from my side so all I can suggest is that you update to IE 7 or use Firefox
    http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/products/firefox/ as your web browser.

    Hope this helps,
    Mike

  9. george
    September 28th, 2008 at 15:58
    Reply | Quote | #9

    looks aweful on embedded browser in wm6. Remember the thing itg all about. Wish they made a lyx front end for wm6. Just for editing, not making ps files.

    I write plain text in mobile and move to laptop for pagesetting with lyx. Also love my hp48emu.

  10. kaydub
    March 26th, 2009 at 16:45

    Take a look at Pocket CAS. It is a graphical front end for XCAS. http://pocketcas.com/

  11. Henrique Augusto
    March 7th, 2010 at 20:30

    For those who want to know: Ie bought Formulae 1 software for a Palm Tungsten E2. It’s really god for solve things, BUT it’s really unstable and freezes every time. Every time that I need to use Formulae 1 I will have to restart my device after the programs froze.

  12. Tim
    May 11th, 2012 at 15:49

    We use this web computer algebra system:

    http://www.vroomlab.com

    there is a quick reference guide:

    http://www.vroomlab.com/nhome/qr.jsp

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