The Israel Inter-University Computation Center, or MACHBA, is an association formed by eight of the most prominent universities in Israel. MACHBA recently signed an Academic Unlimited Agreement to distribute Mathematica on six of its campuses, becoming one of the first organizations to take advantage of multiple-campus Mathematica licensing.
Multiple-campus licensing is one of the newest approaches in distributing Mathematica to academic institutions that are part of a single system. This licensing structure allows multiple campuses to be covered by one agreement and is ideal for systems that are governed by a single administrative unit. Each campus, however, is given the option of receiving its own set of media and documentation to facilitate distribution.
This new Mathematica license will provide six of the MACHBA universities–Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Weizmann Institute of Science, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and the University of Haifa–with campuswide access to Mathematica, automatic upgrades, and technical support over the next three years.
Most Mathematica users within the MACHBA association use Mathematica for their research. Zvi Wiener, a financial consultant and professor in the Business School at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been using Mathematica as his main tool for financial engineering to hedge financial transactions, measure risk of investments, and map major financial risks of financial portfolios.
Professor Yair Zarmi, a member of the Department of Energy and Environmental Physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, uses Mathematica for research in nonlinear dynamics and ecological modeling. “My work involves gigantic algebraic manipulations, the implementation of which would not be feasible in a reasonable amount of time without the help of Mathematica,” explains Professor Zarmi. “Mathematica relieves me of the need to perform these cumbersome manipulations, and [I can] concentrate on the structure of the results.”
The agreement with MACHBA has allowed each of the universities to expand its use of Mathematica by installing it so all faculty, staff, and students can take advantage of Mathematica‘s capabilities in labs across campus. According to Sidney Lang, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Mathematica has been available for a number of years on the mainframe Unix system. Although students were able to use Mathematica effectively for their work, they often encountered problems with the Unix operating system itself, complaining of its lack of user friendliness. Thanks to the new Unlimited Agreement, Mathematica will be installed on all of the personal computers in the student laboratory and many of the student research labs. This will give students the freedom to access Mathematica in a variety of locations and on the platform of their choice. So far the response has been very positive.
This expanded access will open the doors for many who have thought about using Mathematica as an educational tool. “Initially, my usage was purely for research, but I quickly realized how valuable it would be in teaching as well,” says Professor Lang. “It enables me to carry out calculations that would be simply impossible without it.”
Professor Zarmi has also found Mathematica useful as a teaching tool and uses Mathematica‘s computational and publishing capabilities to prepare examples and problems for his mathematics and physics students. “Mathematica is capable of [fulfilling] the needs of students at all levels, from the most elementary undergraduate level to the most sophisticated graduate research work.”
Many universities, including those that are part of the MACHBA association, have found the Mathematica Academic Purchase Programs to be a cost effective way of bringing Mathematica to their campuses. Wolfram Research and its resellers offer many different licensing options to academic institutions, ranging from a single copy to campuswide access for multiple locations.