Friday, November 11, 2011

Matlab for Mac

There are changes to Matlab under Mac OS X. In particular, OS X "Lion" requires Matlab R2011A or later. Our group license servers will not be able to upgrade to a license key for R2011A, due to licensing changes from Mathworks.
Instead, users needing R2011A or later will need to point their Matlab to our new license server. We currently have this running on a temporary machine for testing and early deployment, but we need to defer rolling out R2011 to all of ECE until we've had time to build and test our new department-wide server (which will be virtualized, so we need to license and configure VMWare server, etc. as well.)
Current Mac users who want to upgrade to OS X "Lion" will need to contact us about getting R2011A or newer, set up to use the temporary license server.
We're distributing the Mac edition via USB key, as this is much simpler for users than running the installer.
(Editions of Mac OS earlier than "Lion" can still use Matlab R2010B or possibly even earlier, using the existing group license servers.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Scientific graphing

Further to my earlier post on advanced graphing, here are a few more options.

Now and then students ask about getting SigmaPlot, Origin or similar high-end data analysis, plotting and graphing software. Unfortunately the main commercial products in this field are quite pricey. An academic license for SigmaPlot lists at US $549. Origin for one UofT PC costs $550. OriginLab does have much lower prices for Student Personal Use licenses, ($50/yr.), but you must pay with personal funds and the license can only be used on a student-owned computer (your own laptop or home PC, not an ECE PC.) OriginPro Student Personal Use license 

Fortunately, for any task as broadly required as this, we usually find a range of good, low- to no-cost software as well. Many may be less polished or have fewer features than the top commercial entries, but are well worth checking out first. Here are a few I've dug up so far:

The Licensed Software Office carries IBM SPSS, popular in the social sciences, for Windows, Mac and Linux at $80 for a one-year license (Aug.1-Jul.31) for Faculty and staff, or $60 per year (Oct.-Oct.) for students.

SciDAVis is free, open source software for 2D and 3D plots, available for Windows, Mac and Linux: SciDAVis feature summary.

The free statistical programming language called 'R'  has powerful graphing and plotting features, as I mentioned in my earlier post on advanced graphing. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

QTiPlot is a lower-priced alternative to Origin, SigmaPlot, SPSS etc. It has a variety of licensing options and pricing.

DPlot for Windows costs $195 and offers a time-limited free trial (output images contain a watermark).