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Newly Released Mathematica 5 Outperforms Dedicated Numerical Systems

Published June 23, 2003

June 23, 2003–Wolfram Research today announced the release of Mathematica 5–the new high-performance version of its award-winning technical computing software. Key new technologies enable Mathematica 5 to outperform dedicated numerical systems in raw computational speed, while introducing a host of innovative features.

Until now, technical users had to make a choice between Mathematica‘s comprehensive, mixed numeric-symbolic environment and the faster numerical routines available in Fortran libraries or specialized packages such as MATLAB, MATRIXx, or O-Matrix. With the release of Mathematica 5, this choice is no longer necessary.

“In some cases, Mathematica 5 is 1,000 times faster than previous versions and surpasses the speed of dedicated numerical systems too,” says Tom Wickham-Jones, Director of Strategic Kernel Development for Wolfram Research. “Yet to achieve this, we’ve compromised none of the accuracy or expert nature of Mathematica. To the contrary, we’ve enhanced them while at the same time adding even more capabilities.”

Mathematica 5 introduces extensive new functionality, much of which is based on algorithms that are exclusive to Mathematica 5. Other algorithms provide functionality that was up to now available only in custom packages costing tens of thousands of dollars. “The most impressive achievement is the quantity of original research that went into this version–over 100 new algorithms for symbolic and numeric computation have been implemented by in-house developers,” says Roger Germundsson, Director of R & D for Wolfram Research.

Mathematica 5 also extends Wolfram Research’s position as the leader in providing integration with other software and standards. In addition to updated versions of J/Link and MathLink, Mathematica‘s standard connections to Java and C/C++, Mathematica 5 comes with the new .NET/Link, a much requested feature that allows developers to seamlessly integrate Mathematica into applications using Microsoft’s .NET Framework.

Major new features and enhancements in Mathematica 5 include:

  • Record-breaking speed for numerical linear algebra
  • Wide-ranging support for fast sparse matrix operations
  • New-generation optimized numerical solvers for ordinary and partial differential equations
  • Major new algorithms for solving equations and inequalities symbolically over complex numbers, reals, and integers
  • Fully integrated solver for differential algebraic equations
  • High-performance optimization and linear programming, including interior point method
  • Extensive support for vector and array functions in numeric solvers
  • State-of-the-art solver for recurrence equations
  • Broader support for domain specifications in symbolic computation
  • .NET/Link for full integration with Microsoft’s .NET Framework
  • Flexible import and export of DICOM, PNG, SVG, and sparse matrix formats
  • Optimized versions available for 64-bit hardware and operating systems
  • New quick-start interactive tutorial

The advances in Mathematica 5 strengthen Mathematica‘s position of not only having the broadest scope of any technical computing system but also providing the best performance. Mathematica accomplishes this by combining outstanding numeric, symbolic, and graphical capabilities with a uniquely productive programming language and interactive document system. In Mathematica 5, technologies such as packed arrays, automatic algorithm selection, and symbolic preprocessing–which were developed in phase two of Wolfram Research’s gigaNumerics initiative–have helped to deliver a unique combination of both speed and functionality. “The ultimate objective of the gigaNumerics initiative was to equip Mathematica to handle giga-sized numerical data sets while maintaining Mathematica‘s unique breadth of capability. With Mathematica 5, we have already produced a tremendous return on our investment,” adds Wickham-Jones.

“Now is the time to switch from dedicated technical systems to Mathematica,” says Conrad Wolfram, Director of Strategic Business Development for Wolfram Research. “Mathematica 5’s unique combination of speed, scope, and scalability takes you from start to finish, from prototyping to final computations, from research to presentation in the shortest possible time.”

More information about Mathematica is available.