Re: mma operational concepts

*To*: mathgroup at yoda.physics.unc.edu*Subject*: Re: mma operational concepts*From*: mek at guinan.psu.edu (Mark E. Kotanchek)*Date*: Tue, 23 Feb 93 10:49:46 -0500

Hi folks, I thought I'd clean up my e-mail files and post a summary about my original query, I have a Powerbook 170 8/80 at home (along with a Sigma PowerPortrait) and a NeXTstation 32/(400+1.2) at the office and got to thinking I should standardize on one symbolic manipulation package rather than running Mathematica on the NeXTstation and Maple on the Powerbook. My impression (based on hearsay) is that Mathematica is too much of a resource hog to run effectively on the Powerbook which would seem to indicate that Maple is the winner and I should buy a copy for the NeXT. HOWEVER, I got to thinking some more (a dangerous thing, I know) and started toying with the concept of buying a couple of 14.4 modems for the machines and running the kernel on the NeXT and the front end on the Powerbook/PowerPortrait. I was wondering if anybody had implemented a similar configuration and, if so, what their impression was of the setup? I got quite a few responses which may be summarized as the concept of running mma via a 14.4 modem to a real machine from a mac was "a good thing". Thanks to Paul Schatz, Paul Fons, Paul Abbott, Stig Mjolsnes, Tim McLarnan, Bob Weller, Doug Stein, Michael Prange, Brad Ramsey, and William MacDonald for their interest and response. A few highlights out of the comments include: Paul N. Schatz writes: Don't know whether this is directly relevant, but running Mathematica frontend on my Mac IIcx at home and connecting with a Supra 14400 modem to an RS/6000 kernel at the University works very well. Paul Fons contributes: Why don't you use a simple serial cable (a lot cheaper) and you should be able to push the line to 56,000 baud with luck using RS 422. All this presumes of course that you are locating the machines close to each other if not, of course the modems work just fine. I have tried the same at 14K baud over the phone line and it works just fine (ethernet is the route I usually use!). The only snag is that if you do very complicated graphics 3D high resolution, at 14K it can still take a while to get output. Paul Abbot says: I have a Powerbook 180 8/120 at home and a DECstation 5000 at the office. I have not standardized on one symbolic manipulation package (as I need to use both Mathematica and Maple). I recently bought a couple of 14.4 modems and run the kernel on the DECstation and the front end on the Powerbook. I LOVE this configuration! Recently I gave a talk in Tasmania using my PowerBook and ran the remote kernel on our departmental DECstation (over 2000 miles away). The advantage of this is, with the internet, you can have your desired configuration ANYWHERE in the world and you suffer very little in the way of a speed penalty over the internet. Tim McLarnan's view is I recently bought a PowerBook 160 and have both Maple and Mma running on both it and on some NeXTs at work. I personally tend to use Maple on the Powerbook if I am not at my desk, since Mma tends to be slow and to use all available memory (I have 8MB). For larger calculations when I'm sitting at my desk, I dial in to the NeXT (I have Telebits on both ends). For large symbolic calculations, this is clearly the way to go. For graphics like a 3D plot of Sin[x]+Cos[y], the time to transmit the PostScript is such that there isn't any savings in time between letting the PowerBook do it and sending it to the NeXT. Mma Notebooks are also portable between the NeXT and the Mac, which is a big plus. Bob Weller says Version 2.1 on a powerbook 170 is a bit constrained compared with a 20MB Quadra but is just fine for most applications. I spend all day doing it yesterday. Doug Stein (of wri.com) says: I used a similar setup for Mathematica (IIsi/NeXTstation connected via Ethernet) when I was developing the Mac Front End for 2.0. I've also tried it recently (PB170/NeXTstation connected via 2400 baud modems and AppleTalk Remote Access). It's a neat setup - why settle for multitasking when you can have multiprocessing! Now, with respect to your first concern... I happily run Mathematica on a PB170 with 8MB of RAM; I simply turn on virtual memory and have my PB imitate a 16MB machine. Michael Prange's contribution was: When I'm using mathematica on my NeXT at home and the problem is big, I routinely run the mathematica kernel on a computer at work (via a 14400 baud modem) and view the results on my NeXT. I'm pleased with the results.