Mathematica Broadens Appeal
New capabilities, cross-platform consistency excel, but tool kit has long learning curve.Its been said that anyone who doesnt already know about Mathematica may safely ignore news about its updates, since "nearly anyone whod have a use for it would have heard of it" (in the words of MacAddict reviewer Ian Sammis). Theres a grain of truth in that comment, but still we beg to differ. This springs 4.2 update of Wolf- ram Research Inc.s marquee product will appeal to a much broader audience than the researchers and the rocket-scientist types who have long been the companys core market. Mathematica 4.2 augments extensive mathematical, symbolic processing and graphical facilities with increased convenience in XML-based data exchange with other enterprise systems. It offers assistance to operations staff with improved optimization tools and can take its results directly to an audience with expanded technical publishing and slide-show capabilities.
Available on Windows, Mac OS (including OS X) and Linux (PC and PPC) at a single-seat price of $1,880, Mathematica is a leading example of supercomputer power for single-user systems. Notably rivaled by Waterloo Maple Inc.s Maple 8 (also released in the spring) and by The MathWorks Inc.s Matlab 6.1 (released last month), Mathematica is the only one supporting the Macintosh at all with a current version and the only one shipping for Mac OS Xno small advantage in the academic and graphical communities that still have important Macintosh contingents.