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MathGroup Archive 1995

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Re: Performance of student version of Mathematica?

  • To: mathgroup at christensen.cybernetics.net
  • Subject: [mg704] Re: Performance of student version of Mathematica?
  • From: jburne at connix.com (John Burnette)
  • Date: 10 Apr 1995 16:35:33 -0400

In article <3mabnh$l0r at news0.cybernetics.net>,
Demetri Mouratis <dm5579 at glhpx15.cen.uiuc.edu> wrote:

>I have to say, your response to Kale's question has some problems.  Most of 
them are in the second paragraph.  
>
>To start, the Student Version of Mathematica is not what is sold to 
>"educational orgainizations".  In fact, universities typically own an 
>enhanced versions site license for a mix of platforms.  This is the 
>case at the University of Illinois. The Student 
>Version, as its name implies, is marketed towards the student.
>
I agree.  The Student version is sold THROUGH educational organizations.

>To claim that Wolfram Research has "intentionally crippled" the student 
>version is absurd.  The decision was to offer a lest costly product so 
>that students, typically college ones, could afford the software.  The 
>lower price means lower performance.  In this case, lack of coprocessor 
>support.

My choice of language was intentionally confrontational, but by no means
absurd. Point in fact, Wolfram REMOVED support for FPU for the 
educational version. Secondly, they inserted code into UNIX licenses so 
that they could restrict the number of concurrent sessions. Both were
intentional EXTRA work which served only to artificially reduce the value 
and usefulness of academic licenses. I believe my labelling of this 
effort as an "intentional crippling" of their software is extremely 
accurate. Suppose Wolfram had taken the approach that the student version 
would use the exact software as the full version but a timing loop had 
been added in order to quadruple the calculation time. Logically what is 
the difference between such and approach and the one Wolfram took?
 >
>"I'd say most, by far, of the academic users of Mathematica could get away 
>with 25% of the capability"  Again, I disagree.  I, as a student, find 
>myself using 50-60% of the packages on a regular basis.  

Perhaps I have been caught in a sweeping generality.  Let me try again.
The statement above would be more accurate if it refered to beginning math 
students working primarily with Calculus.  It is certainly absolutely 
on target for the high school environment. The source of my frustration is
my increasing certainty that there is little chance I will be able to 
convince my new school to fund the purchase of mathematica.  
>
>You were right in one respect.  

(Only..) one?? How kind of you to say...

>The enhanced version is faster.  5-10 times faster, I don't think so.  
>4 times, in intesive calculations, probably. The student version will give 
>the same results as any other version.  Is it worth it to buy the student 
>version vs the enhanced?  I don' know.  How impatient are you and how 
>much do you have to spend? 

In truth this is one area where I was conservative. By Wolfram's own 
advertising, it can be 10 times faster than a Quadra 700 (presumably 
running the enhanced version. Whether it is "worth" purchasing a student 
version is indeed related to how impatient I am, as well as how much I 
have to spend - but it also is related to how much I am willing to be 
treated in a patronizing fashion and what the capabilities and prices of 
other packages are.
 >
>Your PowerPC is a great machine.  Try running the Student Version on 
>it, you'll be surprised by the results.

Oh I was indeed surprised by the results of running the Student Version 
2.2   in emulation mode. It hung the computer. (For your information, my 
computer is a NeXTstation which included a MULTIUSER version of Mathematica.)

Thanks for chatting. (BTW, are you an employee of Wolfram?) I believe I've 
raised several pointed, direct questions. Perhaps I've been too strident 
for some of you. I'd like to hear someone who will identify themselves as 
a Wolfram representative answer the direct questions I posed.



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