Open source takes aim at spendy math programs

A new open source mathematics program is looking to push aside commercial software commonly used in mathematics education, in large government laboratories and in math-intensive research. The program’s backers say the software, called Sage, can do anything from mapping a 12-dimensional object to calculating rainfall patterns under global warming.
Sage is an browser-based open-source tool developed at the University of Washington that the school says more than a hundred mathematicians from around helped build. The package combines powerful number-crunching with new features, such as collaborative online worksheets, the school said.
“For about 10 years I had been really unhappy with the state of mathematical software,” said William Stein, associate professor of mathematics and lead developer of the tool. The big commercial programs – Matlab, Maple, Mathematica and Magma – charge license fees. The Mathematica Web page, for example, charges $2,495 for a regular license. For another program, a collaborator in Colombia was quoted about $550, a special “Third World” discount price, to buy a license to use a particular tool, Stein said in a statement. Full Story

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About Rich
FlexRex began his life as a cartoon character I created a Sun Microsystems. As the world's first "fictional blogger," he appeared in numerous parody films that made fun of the whole work-from-home thing. Somewhere along the line, the Sun IT department adopted FlexRex as their spokesman in a half-dozen security awareness films for employees. So when I left Sun recently, I started FlexRex Communications, a Marketing company in Portland, Oregon.

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