V13:4 (570-571): SB: PR Mathcad Plus 5.0 for Windows - By John Sweeney

V13:4 (570-571): SB: PR Mathcad Plus 5.0 for Windows - By John Sweeney
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Mathcad has the ability to solve differential equations and handle advanced matrix operations. - By John Sweeney

Engineers, statisticians, scientists, students and analysts of every stripe make great use of scratchpads, so it was only a matter of time before a digitally supported version on a personal computer became available. As it so happens, Mathcad PLUS 5.0 is one of the leaders in the field. In addition, Mathcad PLUS has the ability to solve differential equations and handle advanced matrix operations, but for trading analysts, the statistical, curve fitting and transforms (both fast Fourier and wavelet) will be of most interest.

Those not familiar with this breed of software will need to take some time with the on-screen tutorial and the introduction to the manual. It takes some acclimatization to become familiar with the order of events, editing features, and the display of numeric and graphic data. None of these programs have the interface issues so well resolved as more commercially oriented retail programming, but then, the users aren't likely to be simple-minded, either.

Installation will eat up space on your disk, and you'd be wise to leave as much additional space as possible for virtual memory use (8 MB, if not more). If you haven't toyed with this Windows feature, look in the control panel file called "386 Enhanced." It installs easily, but you'll come up with errors if you haven't adjusted your memory management.

Fortunately, there's unusual help. Technical support has faxback and automated support as well as voice. Uniquely, MathSoft has put some thought into its "automated support" instead of just buying the hardware/software and turning it on. An excellent, even outstanding, organization of problem diagnoses gets you to your problem and its specific fix. This setup was easily the best I've ever seen. Indeed, I'd say it's the only workable "automated technical support" I've ever seen!

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