My maths software christmas wish list

November 13th, 2010 | Categories: Android, CUDA, iPad, Linux, Mac OS X, Maple, math software, mathcad, mathematica, matlab, NAG Library, Open Source | Tags:

Christmas isn’t all that far away so I thought that it was high time that I wrote my Christmas list for mathematical software developers and vendors.  All I want for christmas is….



  • Merge the parallel computing toolbox with core MATLAB.  Everyone uses multicore these days but only a few can feel the full benefit in MATLAB.   The rest are essentially second class MATLAB citizens muddling by with a single core (most of the time)
  • Make the mex interface thread safe so I can more easily write parallel mex files


  • More CUDA accelerated functions please.  I was initially excited by your CUDA package but then discovered that it only accelerated one function (Matrix Multiply).  CUDA accelerated Random Number Generators would be nice along with fast Fourier transforms and a bit more linear algebra.


  • Release Mathcad Prime.
  • Mac and Linux versions of Mathcad.  Maple,Mathematica and MATLAB have versions for all 3 platforms so why don’t you?

NAG Library

  • Produce vector versions of functions like g01bk (poisson distribution function).  They might not be needed in Fortran or C code but your MATLAB toolbox desperately needs them
  • A Mac version of the MATLAB toolbox.  I’ve got users practically begging for it :)
  • A NAG version of the MATLAB gamfit command



  • A Locator control for the interact function.  I still have a bounty outstanding for the person who implements this.
  • A fully featured, native windows version.  I know about the VM solution and it isn’t suitable for what I want to do (which is to deploy it on around 5000 University windows machines to introduce students to one of the best open source maths packages)

SMath Studio

  • An Android version please.  Don’t make it free – you deserve some money for this awesome Mathcad alternative.

SpaceTime Mathematics

  • The fact that you give the Windows version away for free is awesome but registration is a pain when you are dealing with mass deployment.  I’d love to deploy this to my University’s Windows desktop image but the per-machine registration requirement makes it difficult.  Most large developers who require registration usually come up with an alternative mechanism for enterprise-wide deployment.  You ask schools with more than 5 machines to link back to you.  I want tot put it on a few thousand machines and I would happily link back to you from several locations if you’ll help me with some sort of volume license.  I’ll also give internal (and external if anyone is interested) seminars at Manchester on why I think Spacetime is useful for teaching mathematics.  Finally, I’d encourage other UK University applications specialists to evaluate the software too.
  • An Android version please.

How about you?  What would you ask for Christmas from your favourite mathematical software developers?

  1. Royi
    November 13th, 2010 at 11:19
    Reply | Quote | #1

    I wish Matlab will integrate 64 Bit compiler into its 64 Bit edition just like they do in the 32 Bit Edition.

  2. Dave
    November 13th, 2010 at 12:46
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Dave Park’s Presentations package can do ternary plots.

  3. Duncan
    November 13th, 2010 at 22:18
    Reply | Quote | #3

    Completely agree with you about the parallel toolbox. Would be nice to see it work properly with the compiler too, since you need further licenses to run compiled parallel code.

  4. MySchizoBuddy
    November 13th, 2010 at 22:47
    Reply | Quote | #4

    hmm no christmas request for Scilab

  5. MySchizoBuddy
    November 13th, 2010 at 22:49
    Reply | Quote | #5

    SmathStudio on Mac would be my request. It already has a mono source code for linux

  6. November 13th, 2010 at 23:11
    Reply | Quote | #6

    @myschizobuddy none for python either….I don’t want to be too greedy ;)

  7. Martin Cohen
    November 14th, 2010 at 06:09
    Reply | Quote | #7

    Affordable versions of Matlab and Maple (like Mathematica Home Edition).

  8. MySchizoBuddy
    November 14th, 2010 at 11:15
    Reply | Quote | #8

    @Mike Croucher
    Scilab has the only Simulink opensource alternative. But yeah one can’t be too greedy.

  9. November 14th, 2010 at 23:53
    Reply | Quote | #9

    Two small enhancements to Mathematica would be nice — “time machine” feature that could undo kernel state to what it was before some bad assignment broke everything and typesetting made to be as pretty as Latex ;)

  10. November 15th, 2010 at 09:20

    Routine use of extended or quad precision. And better printing of floating point numbers.

  11. November 15th, 2010 at 11:29

    @David Jones – in which package?

  12. Nasser M. Abbasi
    November 15th, 2010 at 11:36

    @Yaroslav Bulatov

    “typesetting made to be as pretty as Latex”

    I agree with you on that. But I do not use Latex directly (used to, but found it too much time consuming), I use a really wonderful software called Scientific word, which generates latex, but the front end takes all the trouble of having to type Latex directly. It is like an equation editor, but much more advanced and easier to use, I have been using SW for years now, and love it.

    I tried to use Mathematica to do all my HW’s in and reports, but it is just not as easy or as good yet as SW. The equation do not look as good as Latex, no centering, table of content, and all the other goodies that come with Latex.

    So, I still use Latex for the report, and then copy the plots from Mathematica into SW.

    It would be better if I can do everything in one document, but so far, Mathematica typesetting just do not do the job as well and as easy as SW does. Also, I use Latex2html to generate HTML from my Latex report, and that looks better also.


  13. November 18th, 2010 at 15:55

    Hi Mike

    A Mac version of the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB is imminent (possibly even in time for December 25th :-))

  14. November 18th, 2010 at 18:25

    Hi Katie

    That’s brilliant, thanks for letting me know :)

  15. November 19th, 2010 at 17:09

    Christmas has come early. The Toolbox for MAC is now on the NAG website ready to download. Let me know direct if you can’t find it.