## A month of math software – December 2011

Welcome to the final Month of Math Software for 2011. Lots of people sent in news items this month so hopefully there will be something of interest to everyone. If you have any news items or articles that you think will fit in to next month’s edition then please contact me and tell me all about it.

If you like what you see and want more then check out the archives.

**Mathematica StackExchange Proposal**

There is a proposal to launch a new Mathematica-specific questions/answers site on StackExchange. All it needs is enough interested people who will follow or commit to the proposal. There is already a vibrant Mathematica community on StackOverflow, where many of the MathGroup regulars participate. Unfortunately not all questions are on topic or tolerated there, so many believe that it would be better to launch a new site. If you are willing to lend support to this proposal then add your name to the list at http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/37304/mathematica?referrer=23yK9sXkBPQIDM_9uBjtlA2

**General mathematical software**

- Version 5.26 of Maxima, a free computer algebra system for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, has been released over at Sourceforge. No details on what’s new yet.
- The free, open-source stats software, R, has seen a minor update with 2.14.1. Full details of the new stuff can be found at https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-announce/2011/000548.html
- The free Euler Math Toolbox is now at version 13.3. See what’s new at http://eumat.sourceforge.net/versions/version-13.html
- The general purpose computational algebra system, Magma, has been updated to version 2.18.2. See what’s new at http://magma.maths.usyd.edu.au/magma/releasenotes/2/18/2/

**Making MATLAB faster
**

- Jacket, the GPU accelerated toolbox for MATLAB from Accelereyes, has seen a major update. Version 2.0 includes all sorts of new goodies including faster random number generation, improved multi-GPU support, and a load of new functions. Perhaps most importantly,
**Jacket 2.0 includes support for OpenCL**which opens the product up to many more hardware configurations. See more details on what’s new at their wiki. - I wrote a blog post that demonstrates how to use Intel’s SPMD Program Compiler, ispc, to write faster mex files in MATLAB.

**More mathematics in CUDA**

- Release candidate 2 of version 4.1 of NVIDIA’s CUDA Toolkit has been released. There’s lots of interesting new mathmatical functions and enhancements over version 4.0 including Bessel functions, a new cuSPARSE tri-diagonal solver, new random number generators (MRG32k3a and MTGP11213 Mersenne Twister), and
**one thousand image processing functions**!

**Differential Equations**

- FEniCS 1.0 has been released. The FEniCS Project is a collection of free software with an extensive list of features for automated, efficient solution of differential equations.

**Libraries**

- The HSL Mathematical Software Library (http://www.hsl.rl.ac.uk) is a high performance Fortran library that specialises in sparse linear algebra and is widely used by engineering and optimization communities. Since the release of HSL 2011 at the start of Feburary, there have been a number of updates to the library. Take a look at http://www.hsl.rl.ac.uk/changes.html for the detailed list of changes. Interestingly, this library is
**free for academic use**! - FLINT (Fast Library for Number Theory) version 2.3alpha has been released. I can’t find any info on what’s new at the moment.
- Version 5.1 of AMDs linear algebra library, ACML, is now available.
- Version 1.6 of the AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing Math Libraries (APPML) has been released. I’m not sure what’s new since the release notes only contain information about Timeout Detection and Recovery rather than info on the new stuff. AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing Math Libraries are software libraries containing FFT and BLAS functions written in OpenCL and designed to run on AMD GPUs. The libraries also support running on CPU devices to facilitate debugging and multicore programming.
- Version 2.4.5 of PLASMA (Parallel Linear Algebra for Scalable Multi-core Architectures) was released back in November but I somehow missed it. Check out the 2.4.5 release notes for details.

**Blog posts about Mathematical software**

- Over at No Ice in my Scotch Please, stu has written a series of posts on how to leverage CUDA with MATLAB in Some Useful Tools for Numerical Solution of PDEs on a Workstation.
- Anna looks at 3D plots in the upcoming Mathcad prime 2.0.
- Arthur Charpentier uses R to explain how to use Markov chains to improve your Snakes and Ladders game :)
- Jon McLoone writes 10 Tips for Writing Fast Mathematica code. If this interests you then you may also be interested in my detailed look at Mathematica’s Compile function.
- Kyle demonstrates how reordering sparse matrices can improve parallelism.