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Mathematica 7 Released–Major New Version Integrates Over 500 New Functions, 12 New Application Areas

Published November 18, 2008

Record Rate of R&D: Major New Technology Released Just 18 Months after Reinvented Mathematica 6

November 18, 2008–Wolfram Research today announced Mathematica 7, a major release that accelerates the drive to integrate and automate functionality as core Mathematica capabilities, adding image processing, parallel high-performance computing (HPC), new on-demand curated data, and other recently developed computational innovations–in total over 500 new functions and 12 application areas.

Mathematica 7 is a remarkable achievement–coming so quickly after Mathematica 6, and successfully integrating so many new areas,” said Stephen Wolfram, President and CEO of Wolfram Research.

“Throughout the history of Mathematica, we’ve followed the principle of deep integration–of building everything into the core system, and carefully designing it to fit together. With every version of Mathematica, we’re seeing more and more payoff from this approach. It seems as if deep integration is letting our R&D teams use Mathematica to achieve an almost exponential development trajectory for the product.”

Mathematica 7 drives functionality integration. Whether it’s parallel computing, image analysis, or visual solving, the principle is the same: include it in the core product and add automation both for performance and productivity,” said Roger Germundsson, Director of Research and Development at Wolfram Research.

Image processing is one key integrated addition. Industrial-strength, high-performance functions for image composition, transformation, enhancement, and segmentation combine with the existing Mathematica infrastructure of high-level language, automated interface construction, interactive notebook documents, and computational power to create a uniquely versatile image processing solution.

“The image processing environment of Mathematica 7 has been designed from the ground up to become the system of choice for imaging research and applications in science, engineering, medicine, and education,” stated Peter Overmann, Director of Software Technology at Wolfram.

“This is only the start of our image processing initiative. Allied to Mathematica‘s other functionality, it’s already very powerful,” continued Overmann. “We have a modern foundation, and we will continue to build on it.”

Built-in parallel computing is another key new area of integration in Mathematica 7 (and a first across technical computing). For the first time, every copy of Mathematica (as well as the Mathematica Player Pro 7 deployment platform) now comes standard with the technology to parallelize computations over multiple cores or over networks of Mathematica deployed across a grid. Every copy of Mathematica 7 comes with four computation processes included. More processes as well as network capabilities can be added easily.

Parallel computing is an important next step in increasing technical computing performance because all computers are becoming multicore.

Mathematica‘s single-core performance is already top class,” said Tom Wickham-Jones, Wolfram’s Director of Kernel Technology. “Seamlessly parallelizing computations–as enabled by Mathematica 7–steps up performance with little user effort.”

“Quad-core computers are now commonplace, and we wanted everyone to have immediate access to their power,” added Conrad Wolfram, Director of Strategic and International Development. “No separate installation, no wondering whether that Mathematica license is parallel-enabled. It’s there every time.”

Mathematica‘s parallel computation is typically accessed in two easy ways–automatically by certain built-in functions and by users applying the Parallelize superfunction to their own code or computations. Mathematica automatically distributes the tasks over the available processes, optimizing for the installed hardware.

Integrating parallel technology has a number of key advantages over making it an add-on. In particular, it enables software developers to rely on their clients using parallel-enabled Mathematica or Player Pro.

“Parallel computing used to be for experts only,” said Wickham-Jones. “With Mathematica 7 we’ve made it mainstream–integrating and automating parallel computations has only been possible because of Mathematica‘s unique symbolic architecture.”

“We’re the first in our industry to integrate parallel computing into our standard product–now every Mathematica 7 is an HPC environment,” continued Conrad Wolfram.

Computable data sources, introduced in Mathematica 6, are unique and popular innovations because of the ease with which data can be utilized in Mathematica. Mathematica 7 builds on this with major additions including the complete human genome, weather, astronomical, GIS, and geodesy data. Example uses include finding, analyzing, and visualizing gene sequences–making use of Mathematica‘s powerful string capabilities (including new string alignment functionality), pattern matching, and statistics. Similarly, both real-time and historical weather data from 16,000 weather stations is included in Mathematica 7, giving everyone from climatologists to economists curated information to use in their analyses or applications.

“The response to our computational data initiative has been tremendous, including feedback from specialists in each field,” added Conrad Wolfram. “It’s not that the data hasn’t been ‘out there’, but not as a single or consistent source, nor in any way that’s immediately usable for calculation.”

Other areas of innovation in Mathematica 7 include:

  • Charting and information visualization
  • Vector field visualization
  • Comprehensive spline support including NURBS
  • Industrial-strength Boolean computation
  • Statistical model analysis
  • Integrated geodesy and GIS data
  • Many symbolic computation breakthroughs, including discrete calculus, sequence recognition and transcendental roots

“As well as adding important new technologies, Mathematica 7 demonstrates our achievement of attaining the highest rate of R&D in the industry,” said Germundsson. “We are seeing accelerating returns from using the very same integrated Mathematica in the development of new features, even when they push into brand-new areas. Adopting Mathematica today really means an increasing technological advantage now and into the future.”

“If you want accelerating R&D like we have, adopt Mathematica for your development,” said Conrad Wolfram. “Mathematica has been the key to accelerating Mathematica‘s R&D.”

Mathematica 7 is available for Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS X, Linux x86, Solaris UltraSPARC/x86, and compatible systems. More product details are available on the Mathematica website.