## A Month of Math Software – February 2013

Welcome to the latest Month of Math Software here at WalkingRandomly. If you have any mathematical software news or blogposts that you’d like to share with a larger audience, feel free to contact me. Thanks to everyone who contributed news items this month, I couldn’t do it without you.

**The NAG Library for Java**

- The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) have been producing numerical libraries for over 40 years and now they have one for Java.

**MATLAB-a-likes**

- Version 3.6.4 of Octave, the free, open-source MATLAB clone has been released. This version contains some minor bug fixes. To see everything that’s new since version 3.6, take a look at the NEWS file. If you like MATLAB syntax but don’t like the price, Octave may well be for you.
- The frequently updated Euler Math Toolbox is now at version 20.98 with a full list of changes in the log. Scanning through the recent changes log, I came across the very nice
**iterate**function which works as follows>iterate("cos(x)",1,100,till="abs(cos(x)-x)<0.001") [ 1 0.540302305868 0.857553215846 0.654289790498 0.793480358743 0.701368773623 0.763959682901 0.722102425027 0.750417761764 0.731404042423 0.744237354901 0.735604740436 0.74142508661 0.737506890513 0.740147335568 0.738369204122 0.739567202212 ]

**Mathematical and Scientific Python**

- The Python based computer algebra system, SAGE, has been updated to version 5.7. The full list of changes is at http://www.sagemath.org/mirror/src/changelogs/sage-5.7.txt
- Numpy is the fundamental Python package required for numerical computing with Python. Numpy is now at version 1.7 and you can see what’s new by taking a look at the release notes

**Spreadsheet news**

- A new version of Microsoft Excel, the 800 pound gorilla of the spreadsheet world, was actually released back in January as part of Office 2013 but I managed to miss it somehow. An overview of what’s new in Excel 2013 is available in a blog post from Microsoft, along with a list of new functions in Excel 2013 and a note warning of the possibility of calculation differences between ‘normal’ PCs and those running Windows RT. More in-depth articles include My first Excel 2013 chart, Excel 2013 in depth, Introduction to PowerPivot in Excel 2013 and the new ISFORUMULA Function in 2013.
- Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s product is a new version of the superb,
**completely free**LibreOffice. Version 4.0 was released on 7 February 2013 and includes a wide range of new features. My favourite new feature, by far, is the inclusion of a Logo interpreter! LibreLogo is*‘A Logo-Python programming environment with interactive turtle vector graphics for education and desktop publishing*‘ and there are some blog posts about it here and here. Another improvement I want to point out is the fact that the random number function in Libre Office Calc has been significantly improved.

**R and stuff**

- A new version of R, the open source standard for statistical computing, has been released. Version 2.15.3 is probably going to be the last release before version 3 comes out. The full list of changes can be found at http://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/NEWS.R-2.15.3.html
- Version 0.4.0 of Shiny has been released and the Shiny tutorial has been updated.

**This and that**

- The commercial computer algebra system, Magma, has seen another incremental update in version 2.19-3.
- The NCAR Command Language was updated to version 6.1.2.
- IDL was updated to version 8.2.2. Since I’m currenty obsessed with random number generators, I’ll point out that in this release IDL finally moves away from an old Numerical Recipies generator and now uses the Mersenne Twister like almost everybody else.

**From the blogs**

- The guys at AccelerEyes have been benchmarking NVIDIA’s new Tesla K20.
- NAG’s David Sayers asks ‘Would you like the NAG Routines in Different Precisions?’
- Wolfram Research celebrates the Centennial of Markov Chains.
- Stephen Wolfram asks ‘What Should we call the language of Mathematica?’
- A couple of bloggers discuss performing Monte Carlo simulations using javascript (here and here). I say ‘Fine, but be careful because the Javascript random number generators are not too good’

If you’re interested in test the bleeding edge GNU Octave (3.7.2+ with GUI), this is a installer for Windows: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45539519/octave-3.7.2%2B-vs2010-setup.exe

Provided by Michael Goffioul.

Please set the font of the terminal if the cursor seems strange. Lucida Console is a good choice.

Best,

Júlio.

There’s actually a much newer version of Magma that was released today: http://magma.maths.usyd.edu.au/magma/releasenotes/2/19/4/

:)

Full disclosure: I know one of the core maintainers.

Came across this blog post reviewing Mathematica and R-Link. http://www.statisticsblog.com/2013/03/review-of-mathematica-9-and-r-link/

Thanks. Will include in the next edition.