Issue 60, 1 February 2007

In this issue:


Top Story - Maple-NAG Connector Coming 5 February

From Monday 5 February, analysts, modellers and researchers will have a powerful new set of tools at their disposal. The Maple-NAG Connector brings together the pre-eminent modelling, exploration and application development abilities of Maple with the power and breadth of trusted NAG mathematical and statistical routines. As a front end to the NAG C Library, the Maple-NAG Connector provides an integrated environment to make code development easier. With this connector, users can eliminate the complexities of conventional programming and save time with simplified calling sequences and searchable documentation. The entirety of the NAG C Library at Mark 7 is available in seamless combination with Maple's mathematical analysis and visualization tools. The result? Faster, more reliable models and applications, created in less time.

To learn more, download a trial or purchase the Maple-NAG Connector go to http://www.nag.co.uk/numeric/MC/MCdescription.asp.


Product Information - Global Optimization Beta Test Announcement

As a result of a collaboration with the University of Vienna, we are extending our algorithmic capability into the area of global optimization by developing a suite of routines for bound-constrained problems based upon one of our existing optimization algorithms. More information about the underlying techniques used can be found at http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/ms/mcs.pdf.

For optimal performance of the routines, the problems should be well scaled and have only a modest number of variables, say 30, though the software itself imposes no limits. Memory usage can be quite high as the problem size increases so we would be interested in seeing how large a problem the routines could practically address and whether or not such problems occur in real-life situations.

We are looking to receive real data sets to test the solver ourselves as well as shipping early versions of the code to selected clients for them to use and give feedback. If you are interested in becoming a beta tester for this material or providing test data sets, please contact us at nagnews@nag.co.uk.


Product Information - NAG, Star-P and MATLAB® - Supercomputing from Your Desktop

Many MATLAB® users are facing the daunting prospect of recoding their application in C or FORTRAN to run ever larger and more complex models which exceed the available power and memory of their desktops. Many of these users also want to leverage the power and accuracy of the NAG computational libraries from within MATLAB.

To address both of these challenges, NAG and Interactive Supercomputing have teamed up to deliver breakthrough productivity in programming parallel systems, clusters, and grids by allowing MATLAB to access NAG functions in a supercomputing environment using the Star-P parallel computing platform.

What is Star-P?

The Star-P parallel computing platform connects desktop applications, including MATLAB, to a parallel server, outsourcing to the server the most computationally-intensive operations, while eliminating the need for MPI programming. Star-P's interactive engine runs on top of the server operating system giving client applications interactive access to the server's processors, memory, and file system. Star-P gives MATLAB and NAG users increased scalability and performance, while eliminating low level concerns such as data distribution in a parallel environment.
Star-P's computation engine consists of two key elements: built-in parallel computing and add-on parallel computing, accessible via Star-P Connect. Both support data-parallel and task-parallel computations. To learn more, go to http://interactivesupercomputing.com/partners/nagsolutions.php.


Forthcoming Events - UK
  • DevWeek 2007 - 26 February - 2 March, The Business Design Centre, Islington, London
    NAG is pleased to be sponsoring DevWeek 2007. We are once again exhibiting at the show and will have technical experts on hand to help and advise you. Please visit the NAG stand to find out more about the latest developments in our mathematical and statistical software for the .NET environment.

    If you have complex mathematical problems to solve then NAG will be glad to help you solve them accurately, efficiently and reliably.

    DevWeek features expert speakers on a wide range of topics, including .NET 3.0, C# 3.0, Windows Vista and Visual Studio 2005. More information on this event may be obtained from http://www.devweek.com/.

Reports on Recent Events

Fifty Years of Fortran

2007 marks the 50th anniversary of Fortran, the first high level programming language, and the Fortran Specialist Group of the British Computer Society, together with the Computer Conservation Society, marked the occasion by holding a celebratory meeting in London on 25 January 2007. Because NAG has played a very significant part in the evolution of Fortran, it was invited to participate in the event.

The meeting heard a number of invited presentations from leading members of the international Fortran community. One of those distinguished speakers was Malcolm Cohen, Principal Technical Consultant at NAG, who presented a paper on the theme of ‘Implementing the Standards - including Fortran 2003’. Malcolm gained international recognition when he single-handedly wrote the world's first Fortran 90 compiler. Since then, he has been actively involved in the development of the Fortran language. He is a member of the international working group on Fortran, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG5 and secretary to the USA technical subcommittee on Fortran, J3. Malcolm has written many articles for programming journals and more recently co-authored the book “Fortran 95/2003 Explained” with John Reid and Michael Metcalf.

For further information on this meeting, please visit http://www.fortran.bcs.org/2007/jubileeprog.php.

NAG in the City - NAG & Wilmott Finance Seminar

The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) and Wilmott, the leading communication resource-provider for the Quantative Finance community, jointly hosted a City seminar for finance industry professionals in London on 13 December 2006. The event was very well attended, and it was evident from audience response forms completed afterwards that participants had found it a most useful occasional. The seminar featured three presentations:

Professor Peter Duck of the University of Manchester spoke on “Singular perturbation problems arising in mathematical finance: fluid dynamics concepts in option pricing”, Dr Robert Tong of NAG Ltd discussed “Software issues in wavelet analysis of financial data”, and Professor Nick Higham of the University of Manchester posed the question “Can you count on your correlation matrix?”.

For more details of this seminar, including the above presentations, please visit: http://www.nag.co.uk/market/NAG_Wilmott_Event.asp.

More on NAG Annual General Meeting 30

In the last NAGNews issue, we reported on NAG's 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM), at which tribute was paid to four people (Richard Field, David Hartley, Peter Kemp and Lawrie Schonfelder), all of whom had made significant and lasting contributions to NAG over many years. This landmark meeting was also highly significant in another way; a new set of Articles of Association (by-laws) was adopted by a resounding majority. This constitutional change does not alter NAG Limited's corporate status, which remains as it has been since incorporation in 1976, namely that of a non-for-profit company, limited by guarantee. Instead, the aim of the new form of Articles is to streamline the governance of the organisation as it embarks on its fourth decade in the rapidly changing world of computing. For further information about the history, objectives and structure of NAG, you are welcome to contact company.secretary@nag.co.uk.


Tips & Hints - Using the NAG ‘Tips & Hints’ Repository

The ‘Tips & Hints’ section of NAGNews is always a popular feature of the newsletter and to make searching for previous technical papers and articles easier, we have an area on the website to house them all. The NAG Technical Tips & Hints area can be found here http://www.nag.co.uk/techtips/.

Please email us at nagnews@nag.co.uk if you have tips you'd like to share.


Product News - New NAG Library 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 as detailed below.

The NAG C Library, Mark 8 is now also available for the following platform:

  • Intel 32-bit x86 systems and compatible, Windows operating systems, Microsoft C++ compiler (this implementation contains both static and DLL forms of the NAG C Library).

The NAG Fortran Library, Mark 21 is now also available for the following platform:

  • Intel 32-bit x86 systems and compatible, Windows operating systems, Intel Fortran compiler, MKL, with the /MT option to allow static multi-threading.

The NAG Parallel Library, Release 3, for distributed memory systems is now available on the following platform:

  • Intel Itanium 2 (IA64) systems and compatible, Linux 64-bit operating system, Intel Fortran Itanium compiler, SGI MPT 1.13 or compatible versions of MPI.

For full details of these and all other available implementations, visit the NAG site. Comprehensive technical details of each implementation are given in the relevant Installation and User Notes; for example, all C Library Mark 8 User and Installation notes are at: http://www.nag.co.uk/doc/inun/cl08.html


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