Executive Summary

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2002-08-19 Print this article Print

: Mathematica 4.2"> Executive Summary: Mathematica 4.2

Usability Good
Capability Excellent
Performance Excellent
Interoperability Excellent
Manageability Excellent
Scalability Excellent
Security Good
Mathematica 4.2 continues the trend of past releases by augmenting its computational, symbolic-math and graphical tools with additional facilities useful to enterprise operations and technical publishing professionals. Its elegant, consistent notebook format and palette-enhanced, command-line interface make the product easy to customize and extend but in some ways harder to learn than competing products such as Waterloos Maple 8 or The MathWorks Matlab.


Far more expensive than spreadsheets or many packaged statistical software suites, Mathematica and other high-end tool kits must be justified in terms of the staff hours they can save or the breakthroughs they may enable—with consequences that go straight to the bottom line. Few organizations will deploy it to more than a few high-end strategists, making its price per seat a relatively minor issue.

(+) Reduces need to combine Mathematica with other tools for presentation and statistical analysis; makes surprisingly large improvements in core computational functions, while also staying abreast of enterprisewide developments such as growing reliance on XML; offers current version in consistent environments on Windows and Mac OS, unlike competing products.

(-) A law unto itself in notation and user interface design: rigorously consistent and generally well-designed but a bottom-up learning task for new users.

  • Waterloos Maple 8
  • The MathWorks Matlab 6.1
  • www.wolfram.com

    Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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