Issue 39, 26 August 2004

In this issue:

For more information about any of the articles featured in this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Top Story - IRIS Explorer, release 5.2 is launched

NAG is delighted to announce the release of version 5.2 of its visualisation software, IRIS Explorer. IRIS Explorer 5.2 is a maintenance release which incorporates bug fixes and improved support for a number of its software modules.

IRIS Explorer is a visual programming system for data visualisation, animation, manipulation and analysis. It has been designed for software developers, scientists and engineers to create applications for displaying and analysing complex multi-dimensional datasets interactively.

At its launch, release 5.2 is being made available on the Red Hat 8.0 platform. This improves upon the previous Linux release of IRIS Explorer, since that was built under an earlier version of Red Hat, and shows some incompatibilities with later versions of the operating system. The next platform for IRIS Explorer 5.2 is scheduled to be 64 bit AMD Opteron. Whilst the Linux build of IRIS Explorer will run on the Opteron in 32 bit mode, a special build is required to take full advantage of the 64 bit architecture. IRIS Explorer 5.2 for Opteron will meet this requirement.

For more information about NAG's IRIS Explorer please visit or email us at with any specific questions.

NAG in the News - Taking a good look at .NET for Finance

The following is a summary of an article entitled 'Taking a good look at .NET for Finance' written by Rob Meyer, CEO of NAG and David Sayers, Principal Technical Consultant at NAG that was published in Financial Engineering News.

The features of 64-bit systems making higher application performance possible translates into more realistic models for quantitative analysts charged with portfolio modelling or risk analysis or similar applications. Knowledge of the .NET programming environment will be important when the move to 64-bit systems triggers consideration of whether it is time to re-write or re-engineer systems. This article explains what .NET is and why it has special value to systems development in finance firms.

To read the article please visit

General Information - OpenMath Thematic Network

The OpenMath Thematic Network, funded by the European Union under its Fifth Framework Programme, has come to an end. The project, coordinated by NAG, received a grade of 4.7 (where 4 is "good" and 5 is "excellent") across a range of criteria in its final review.

The final output from the project is a fully revised version of the OpenMath Standard which takes account of recent developments in the XML and Semantic Web communities. The combination of OpenMath and MathML now provides a powerful platform for describing, processing and rendering mathematical objects on the worldwide web.

NAG intends to continue its involvement in both OpenMath and MathML, through the OpenMath Society and the W3C Math Interest Group. More details can be found at

Tips & Hints - Windows Computing from Microsoft Office Suite

It is well known that the NAG DLL implementations provide an excellent source of algorithmic power to boost the functionality of the Microsoft Office suite. Previous articles have described how easy it is to use the libraries in this way. The DLL libraries are provided with examples of use within the Excel package and also the necessary interfacing software to VB and VBA.

Some users have asked why when they solve a problem within Excel using a NAG routine, slightly different answers are obtained when they repeat the same calculation immediately afterwards. The Intel chip can support 80 bit and 64 bit operation. The NAG libraries use the 64 bit operating mode because this is the default operation with the compilers used to form the DLLs. The first time a problem is solved this will be the mode of operation. The mode can be changed by setting the Floating Point Control Word and Excel does this to set the mode of working to 80 bit. In consequence the second time the problem is solved the NAG libraries will start the calculation in 80 bit mode.

For well-conditioned problems this is not serious and the NAG library routines will switch back to 64-bit working whenever it is essential for the correct working of an algorithm, but it can be disconcerting to see this behaviour. A solution is to set the Floating Point Control Word before each call to a NAG routine. At the next release of the libraries NAG will expose this functionality from the DLLs; at the moment an external compiler function is required.

For more information on NAG's DLLs click here or email us at with any specific questions.

Events - Oxford Centre of Computational Finance, Free Seminar
  • OCCF City Seminar, London
    Free Seminar - The Fifth OCCF City Seminar will be taking place on Wednesday 22 September 2004 at Reuters Ltd, London.

    Due to full capacity attendance at the previous event, pre-registration is required. For further information, and to register your attendance, please visit:

    Sponsored by NAG, Sun, Reuters, IBM and Moneyline Telerate and based at Oxford University, the OCCF reflects the highly quantitative, data-driven nature of modern financial markets and the increasingly important role of high performance computing. The Centre is a unique combination of the computing, physics and mathematics academic departments at Oxford, together with high performance computing hardware, sophisticated data analysis and management tools, and live market data feeds. OCCF provides a laboratory for studying the world's financial markets, with the vast array of real-time financial data providing the experimental output. The Centre focuses on problems of current interest to both practitioners and academics, employing new analytic tools, high performance computing analysis, and real-time comparison to live financial data in order to continually update and improve models.

Product News - New Implementations - Oxford

NAG is committed to offering new implementations of its broad range of numerical and statistical software components and compilers and tools. Since the last edition of NAGNews platform availability has increased for the NAG C Library and IRIS Explorer.

The NAG C Library is now also available for the following platform:

  • Intel-32 Linux using the Intel C++ v 8.0 Compiler
  • Intel-64 Linux64 using the Intel C++ v 7.0 Compiler

IRIS Explorer is now also available for the following platform:

  • Intel-32 Linux

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