Issue 46, 23 June 2005

In this issue:

For more information about any of the articles featured in this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us at nagnews@nag.co.uk


Top Story - NAG launches new website

On June 1st 2005 NAG launched a new global website designed to give online visitors and customers more concise product and service information coupled with improved navigation and online purchasing.

The new navigation system will help visitors locate what they are looking for more quickly and easily. Existing clients of NAG will find the white papers, articles and support documentation of particular interest and the new webstore allows for quick and easy product purchasing of single licence products.

However, the plans for increased functionality for the NAG website do not end here. The project is ongoing and new features and improvements will be added periodically. If you regularly visit the NAG website you may have certain pages book marked that are no longer available. If this does happen, simply email us with the page or information that you are looking for and we will direct you to the right place.

The website addresses remain www.nag.co.uk and www.nag.com. As a valued contact of NAG we welcome your feedback so if you have suggestions or comments about the new site please feel free to contact us at mailto:nagnews@nag.co.uk


In the News - Seeing is believing: Toolkit aids visualization techniques

The use of visualization in the analysis of numerical datasets is well established, and a large number of toolkits enabling the creation of visualization applications are currently available. IRIS Explorer is an example of such a toolkit. Its users construct applications by connecting software building blocks or modules. Each module corresponds to a step in a dataflow pipeline - for example, there are modules to read data from files in a variety of formats, to apply filters to the data, to transform it using various visualization techniques, and to render and manipulate geometry.

The modules appear on the screen as graphical blocks in a visual development interface. The application is then built by selecting or replacing modules and making or breaking dataflow connections between them. Once constructed, the user interface (i.e. the widgets that control the modules' behaviour) can be interactively edited before the application is saved.

To read the entire article by Jeremy Walton, Senior Visualization Consultant at NAG, Jason Wood, Research Associate and Ken Brodlie, Professor of Visualization, School of Computing, Leeds University please click here http://www.nag.co.uk/IndustryArticles/IEtoolkitArticle.pdf. The article was recently published in Physics World.


Product News - Coming soon... NAG SMP Library, Mark 21

The next major release of the NAG SMP Library is coming soon. Mark 21 will see new routines in the areas of optimisation, random number generators, quasi-random number generators, dense and banded linear algebra, direct solution of large scale linear systems, and large scale eigenvalue problems to name a few. More dense and sparse linear algebra routines have SMP parallel versions, further improving the performance of some routines in the areas of optimisation, ODEs and PDEs, and statistics.

The NAG SMP Library gives enhanced performance for shared memory parallelism. A proportion of the routines within the NAG SMP Library has been specially developed and tuned to provide the utmost performance on SMP platforms. These tuned routines deliver levels of performance and scalability superior to many other products currently available.

To register your interest in the new release please email us at mailto:nagnews@nag.co.uk or to read more about the NAG SMP Library click here.


Congratulations - NAG Member elected to the Royal Society

We are delighted to announce and offer our congratulations to member and friend of NAG, Nick Trefethen. He was recently elected a Fellow of The Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence and certainly one of the most prestigious.

Nick is Professor of Numerical Analysis at Oxford University and Head of the Numerical Analysis Group. He joins a body of over 1300 Fellows and Foreign Members at the society that has included Newton, Einstein, Wren, Hodgkin, and Jim Wilkinson.

To learn more about The Royal Society see http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=1020 and to read Nick's citation please go to http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=3176#f3.


Tips & Hints - IRIS Explorer: Creating a volume from a series of images

It's often useful to be able to collate a set of images into a volume. For example, the images could be slices from a MRI scan, through a 3D object and there is a need to reconstruct the object in 3D space.

The simplest method is to use WriteAnimation. It writes incoming 2D lattices into a single 3D image in FIT format. The FIT file can then be read in by ReadImg, which outputs the data as a 3D lattice. Alternatively, if the images are already on disk as .rgb files, use the ReadImages module, which reads in a series of these files and composes them into a 3D lattice.

If you already have the component lattices in IRIS Explorer and simply want a module that stacks them, you must write a new module. Although you could use the module builder, it's easier to use the LatFunction module, which enables simple creation and manipulation of lattices via a script written in the Shape language; the script is passed to the module and interpreted by it, which bypasses the traditional edit-compile-link cycle, leading to more rapid development. Here is a script that takes two lattices and stacks them together to create a new lattice with a dimensionality which is one greater than that of either of the input lattices.

foo := scalar_lattice_in(First_In)
bar := scalar_lattice_in(Second_In)
baz := outside([foo, bar])
First_Out := scalar_lattice_out(baz)

The input lattices must be the same size otherwise LatFunction will complain with a - somewhat obscure - error message. The lattices are stacked in the slowest varying dimension - e.g., if both the input lattices have dimensions of 8 by 8, then the output lattice will have dimensions of 2 by 8 by 8. The stacking direction can be switched to the fastest varying dimension using the inside command - i.e., to get a lattice that's 8 by 8 by 2, change the third line to

baz := inside([foo, bar])

See Chapter 10 of the Module Writer's Guide for more information on the LatFunction module and the Shape language.

For more information about NAG's visualization software IRIS Explorer please see http://www.nag.co.uk/ie/.


Events & UK
  • NANAMIC 'Motivating Learning in Mathematics' - 29th June 2005, University of Leicester
    NAG is delighted to be attending the 'Motivating Learning in Mathematics' conference being held by the National Association for Numeracy and Mathematics in Colleges (NANAMIC).

    The event includes many influential speakers, and features a keynote address by Celia Hoyles, Government Advisor for Mathematics. NAG will be available to discuss how its mathematical, and statistical software products, including the recently launched NAG Schools Excel Add-in (N-SEA) can aid the teaching of mathematics.

    For more details of the conference click here www.nanamic.org.uk

  • Derivatives and Securities World 2005 - 29-30th June 2005, Barbican Exhibition Centre, London
    DSW London, a free event for finance professionals offers a unique opportunity to discover the latest happenings in the world of derivatives, securities and alternative investment. In conjunction with the exhibition various seminars and master classes are presented covering topics such as credit derivatives, commodities, cross asset class trading, risk management, algorithmic trading and clearing and settlement in securities markets.

    NAG will be available at the event on 30th June to highlight the use of NAG's software in the finance sector.

    For more details of the event click here http://www.fow.com/events/event.asp?id=37

Product News - New Implementations

NAG is committed to offering new implementations of its broad range of numerical and statistical software, compilers and tools. Since the last edition of NAGNews platform availability has increased for the NAG Fortran Library, IRIS Explorer and NAG Data Mining & Cleaning Components.

  • NAGWare f95 Compiler News
    The Microsoft Windows implementation of NAGWare f95 has been updated to Release 5.0. All the features of this release, including some new Fortran 2003 language enhancements are now available on this platform. The new release does not require the download of a C compiler, as the MinGW gcc compiler is bundled with the product.

  • The NAG Fortran Library, Mark 21 is now also available for the following platforms:
    • x86-32 Linux using the NAGWare f95 and g77 Compilers
    • x86-32 Linux (ACML) using the NAGWare f95, pgf77 5.2-1 and g77 Compilers
    • IBM Power 4+ AIX 32 bit using the xlf v8.1 Compiler

  • IRIS Explorer, Release 5.2 is now also available for the following platform:
    • AMD-64 Linux64

  • NAG Data Mining & Cleaning Components is now also available for the following platform:
    • IBM Power AIX

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