Issue 76, 27 November 2008


New release of NAG Fortran Compiler now available

NAG is delighted to announce that the NAG Fortran Compiler Release 5.2 with a host of new features is now available. The new release adds many new Fortran 2003 features. Additionally, quadruple precision REAL and COMPLEX will be available on all versions of the compiler.

Key Fortran 2003 additions at release 5.2 include:

  • Unlimited polymorphic
  • Procedure pointers
  • Object-bound procedures
  • Allocatable scalars
  • Deferred character length
  • Recursive I/O

Many other enhancements have been made to the usability, error checking and code speed of the compiler. To learn more about the new release and the benefits that using NAG's compiler brings click here.

Implementation Information
At the time of writing release 5.2 of the NAG Fortran Compiler is available on x86 Linux and x86-64 Linux. Availability on other platforms will follow over the coming months and will be announced in future editions of the newsletter.

Watch the NAG Library connect with MATLAB and Maple

The NAG Library contains over 1,500 mathematical and statistical algorithms built and maintained by experts over three decades. It's widely known that the Library is useable from many different languages and operating systems making it hugely accessible, but not so known is that it's also available for users of specific programming environments such as MATLAB and Maple.

To expand the reach of the Library even further, NAG experts have developed two connector products to enhance the numerical capabilities of both MATLAB and Maple. Users of the connectors are already benefiting from increased accuracy and speed through the use of the NAG Library.

To highlight the benefits of using the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB and the Maple-NAG Connector watch the short webinar which illustrates NAG's mesh generation functionality

For more information about the NAG Library, the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB and the Maple-NAG Connector visit our website at

Is Supercomputing just about performance?

Andrew Jones, VP HPC Business at NAG writes his first column for ZDNET: “HPC: does it stand for high performance computing, or is it high powered? Or high productivity? And does it really matter? Well, even for the non-pedants out there, there is a story in that mysterious ‘P’.

Originally the P in HPC stood for ‘performance’ and, to professionals in the field HPC will always mean ‘high performance computing’ - also known as supercomputing.

As one of those professionals, and as a slight pedant, it always irritated me when people took the P to mean ‘power’, as in ‘high powered computing’. “It's performance, not power...” I would mutter through gritted teeth.

Power is electricity, not speed; and electricity is just a bill and some logistics in the background. But over the past few years, that misnomer has become painfully accurate: electrical power has become as important as performance in HPC.

Of course, the P still stands for ‘performance’, but power is now one of the deciding factors in planning, deploying and operating HPC services.”

To read the full column visit,1000000091,39534285,00.htm.

NAG receives special accolade at SC08

NAG was presented with a special accolade for 20 consecutive exhibits at the world's largest show dedicated to High Performance Computing (HPC). NAG is one of nine organizations, including such notables as IBM, NEC, Sun Microsystems, Cray and NASA, out of thousands that have attended every SuperComputing show in the last 20 years that were recognized in this way. To achieve such longevity in an industry which moves faster than any other on the planet is a reflection of NAG's long term commitment to continually evolving its world-class numerical libraries for HPC together with a globally renowned HPC service.

New feature - Ask the expert!

Last month we announced a new feature to be included in the newsletter called ‘Ask the Expert’. The first question comes courtesy of a Professor of Economics at a British University. He asks:

Q. “I've noticed a change to the Optimization routines E04UCA and E04UCF in the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB. The default settings are now set to off. Can you explain why?”

A. Although the engine running underneath the bonnets of E04UCF and E04UCA/e04uc is the same, there are some subtle differences in the design of the respective dashboards and in the default settings of some of the dials of these reliable little runners.

The immediately noticeable difference is the extra set of communication arrays associated with E04UCA/ e04uc. These are a necessary consequence of removing COMMON blocks as the method of communicating data between E04UCF, itself, and its associated option setting routines. COMMON blocks were a great way of hiding data for communicating data between routines and for saving the current state, but aren't so good when you are calling two instances of E04UCF simultaneously from the same program unit; the result is like trying to drive to cars that share the same steering wheel.

Since e04uc in MATLAB is based upon E04UCA rather then E04UCF the communication arrays used in E04UCA have to be initialised somehow to provide a default set of sensible options. Hence the next noticeable change: a first call to E04UCA/e04uc must be preceded by a call to E04WBF/e04wb to initialise the communication arrays.

Now we come to the hidden differences, the changes to some of the default settings that affect printing. Firstly there is the List/Nolist options; the default for E04UCF is “List” which means that each optional parameter specification is printed as it is supplied (by calls to the option setting routines), whereas the default for E04UCA/e04uc is “Nolist” which means that such printing is not done.

Secondly, there is the “Print Level” option which controls the amount of printout produced by the major iterations. In E04UCF this is set to “10” by default which means that the final solution and one line of summary output is printed for each major iteration, while for E04UCA/e04uc the default setting is “0” which means that no printing of final solution or summary output is printed. If you want to revert E04UCA/e04uc to the same printing behaviour as E04UCF then simply call E04UEA/e04ue with the string “List” followed by a call to the same routine with the string “Print Level = 10”.

So why the change in default printing options? Well, it comes back to simultaneous instances of E04UCF again. A different analogy is called for here: suppose a history teacher and a geography teacher were forced to share the same blackboard at the same time; the result would be a curious mix of history and geography notes that only a student of considerable talent could decipher. In the same way, two instances of E04UCA/e04uc could intermix their printing of two different solutions. So it was thought prudent to prevent such a thing happening by default. It is, of course, possible to print two sets of results to two different places with E04UCA/eo4uc, but since there is one default printing place, the default should be to print nothing.

The astute observer will have noticed that the above discussion holds not just for eo4uc but to a large subset of all the routines in the “E04 - Minimizing or Maximizing a Function”

Chapter i.e. e04dg, e04mf, e04nc, e04ne, e04nf, e04nk, e04nq, e04uf, e04ug and e04us.

Answered by Lawrence Mulholland, NAG Senior Technical Consultant

Keep up to date with HECToR developments

NAG's core role in the UK's national supercomputer HECToR continues at pace with some of the NAG HECToR Team now working on placements within project groups enabling them to optimize system use. If you'd like to keep up-to-date with news about HECToR sign up to HECToRNews today by emailing us at with ‘HECToRNews Request’ in the subject line.

Out & About ' NAG Calendar of Events

NAG's event calendar is very busy over the next couple of months. If you'd like to talk to us about a NAG event or the possibility of hosting a NAG Seminar at your organisation email us at for more information.

4th IEEE International Conference on e-Science
7-12 December, Indianapolis, Indiana
Jeremy Walton is presenting a paper about the ADVISE project entitled ‘A Web Services Architecture for Visualization’, which describes the architecture of the ADVISE system and illustrates its use in the construction of a web-based visualization of air quality data.

Multiphysics 2008
10-12 December, Narvik
Majeed Soufian of NAG is chairing a special session on ‘Numerical Algorithms in Multiphysics’ at this event

For more information on any of the above events visit NAG's ‘Out & About’ webpage

New NAG Product Implementations

NAG is committed to offering new implementations of its broad range of numerical and statistical software components and compilers and tools.'The following implementations for NAG products have become available since the last issue of our newsletter:

New implementations of the NAG Fortran Compiler

  • x86-32 Linux
  • x86-64 Linux

New implementations of the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB®

  • Intel EM64T Windows64

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 at

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