Issue 77, 8 January 2009

Welcome to NAGNews and here's wishing you a happy and prosperous 2009!

Featuring:


NAG Toolbox for MATLAB now available for Microsoft Windows 64-bit


The increasingly popular NAG Toolbox for MATLAB http://www.nag.co.uk/numeric/MB/start.asp is now available for Microsoft Windows 64-bit making the extensive mathematical and statistical functionality in the NAG Library even more widely accessible. If you're interested in using the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB email us for more information.

Along with the launch of the 64-bit Toolbox, NAG has updated the Windows 32-bit implementation to improve and simplify use. The improvements are outline below.

  • Linking NAG Toolbox for MATLAB routines to underlying libraries has been changed to avoid some clashes with similar libraries used directly by MATLAB.
  • A bug which affected the routines f11md and f11me has been fixed based on earlier adopter feedback.
  • The licensing model of the product has been simplified. It no longer relies on a licence key for a compatible NAG Fortran Library product, but instead has its own licence key. However, this means that the new version requires an MBW3221DC key and will not work with a key for the old version.
  • An improved version of the licence key installer (Kusari Installer GUI) is distributed with the Toolbox and is available from a link within the product's Start Menu.
  • If you already have the 32-bit Windows implementation of the Toolbox (MBDLL214Z) there's no need to upgrade to the new release unless you feel you are affected by these issues.

∗Please note that if you wish to install the new NAG Toolbox for MATLAB, you are advised to uninstall any older versions (including beta versions) first.


White Paper - “A Web Services Architecture for Visualization”


The Fourth IEEE International Conference on eScience http://escience2008.iu.edu was held in Indianapolis, USA in December 2008. Designed to bring together research communities, developers and users of eScience applications and grid computing, the meeting attracted attendees from all over the world. One of the speakers was NAG's Jeremy Walton , who presented the paper “A Web Services Architecture for Visualization”. This article (coauthored with Jason Wood, Ken Brodlie, Jungwook Seo and David Duke of the University of Leeds) discussed some of the recent work in the ADVISE project, which is looking at a way to provide visualization as a service to application designers. The paper proposes an architecture which exploits the strengths of web service technologies in providing standardized application access, whilst also enabling the efficient and flexible construction of visualization applications. A realization of the architecture is illustrated by re-visiting an early example of web-based visualization which is focussed on the display of time-dependent environmental data.

The video of Jeremy's presentation at the conference can be viewed here.


Supercomputing Budgets: Fighting the financial storm


How are financial realities affecting supercomputing? NAG HPC expert Andrew Jones takes a closer look.

At the extreme-performance end of HPC (high-performance computing), the supercomputing crowd can be a strange bunch in some ways. As with all HPC users and buyers, they chase goals such as ever-increasing performance per cost and power efficiency.

But their aim is not to streamline their HPC budgets. Give them greener computers, and they'll just see an opportunity to get more of them into the datacentre. Commodity clusters are a way to get more performance for the same capital spend, not to reduce the capital spend.

Indeed, the capital and operating budgets of supercomputer centres seem to be perpetually increasing.

Supercomputer budgets have been increasing as long as I've been involved in the industry. Every procurement cycle, planners demonstrate the need of their users for finer resolution, more complex physics and chemistry, better statistics and more detailed analytics ' and write the business case justifying a bigger budget than last time.

Read Andrew's article in full here


View NAG documentation on the move!


Advancing mobile technology makes reading even highly intricate NAG documentation on the move possible on an iphone (or similar mobile phone technology).

The photograph shown here shows somebody reading NAG documentation on an iphone, which works because the Apple browser, safari, supports MathML (Mathematical Markup Language) and so can handle the mathematics in the NAG documentation.

NAG has been a long time supporter of MathML, in fact, David Carlisle, Senior Technical Consultant at NAG, has been an Invited Expert of the W3C Math Working Group for 10 years, and is co-editor of the MathML 2 and MathML 3 specifications.

The XHTML+MathML version of the NAG Library documentation adheres strictly to the relevant web standards (XHTML, MathML, XSLT, CSS) and while initially it was only usable with specialist “MathML enabled” browsers, we expect it to be available in more mainstream browsers as browser manufacturers implement standard conforming browsers on more platforms. The CSS-based rendering of MathML demonstrated above in Safari also works in Opera and Chrome for example. Firefox and Internet Explorer (with MathPlayer) have had full MathML rendering implemented for a long time.


NAG Fortran Library DLLs and the Silverfrost FTN95 Compiler


The NAG Fortran Library DLLs are especially versatile and are often called from Excel, VB and the .NET languages. They are also called by C compilers and a variety of Fortran compilers. Popular amongst the latter group is the Silverfrost (formerly Salford) FTN 95 compiler for Windows. In an earlier article we described a problem that can occur when this compiler is used with the Checkmate option in conjunction with a NAG DLL.

Silverfrost and NAG have now collaborated to investigate this problem and Silverfrost have diagnosed the problem, published an explanation and given an example of how the difficulty might be avoided. For full details please check their web site at http://forums.silverfrost.com/viewtopic.php?t=1219.


Ask the Expert!


This month's question comes from a NAG Toolbox for MATLAB® user based at a pharmaceutical company in Germany:

Question: “Can I use MATLAB sparse array types with the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB?”

Answer courtesy of David Sayers, Principal Technical Consultant at NAG: “Currently none of our Toolbox routines accept the Sparse Array type as legitimate arguments; sparse arrays must be converted to full arrays using the MATLAB ‘full’ procedure. For example if A is sparse array you need to type AA=full(A) and enter AA as the actual argument to the NAG Toolbox routine.”


Out & About with NAG


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 nagnews@nag.co.uk for more information.

SIAM Annual Meeting
9 January 2009 ' Ireland
NAG experts will be on hand at this meeting to talk about NAG's technical developments including forthcoming functionality in the next release of the NAG Library.

Financial Mathematics Day - NAG and Manchester Business School, University of Manchester
6 February 2009 - University of Manchester, UK
This event is primarily aimed at Academics involved in teaching and research related to financial mathematics. The day will be split into a series of lectures including:

  • The NAG Toolbox for MATLAB
  • Using Excel, Visual Basic and the NAG Library
  • NAG's new Option Pricing Functions
  • NAG's Optimization Material
  • The Nearest Correlation Matrix and applicability to finance

More detailed lecture information and an online registration form will be available on our website soon. If you're interested in attending this event, which is open to all please email us for more event information and to register your interest.

HECToR (High End Computing Terascale Resource) Training Courses
Presented by the NAG HECToR Team
A full list of forthcoming HECToR Training Courses can be viewed on the official HECToR website here.

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


New NAG 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:

The NAG Toolbox for MATLAB is now available for the following platform:

  • Intel64 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 http://www.nag.co.uk/doc/inun.asp


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