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Re: mma operational concepts

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: Re: mma operational concepts
  • From: mek at (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  
   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 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

   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.   
   pleased with the results. 


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