Apps for Engineering Students

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ddrueckhammer, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #1
    I wanted to recommend a few programs that I have found useful for Engineering classes on a Macintosh system because there seems to be very little information posted about this. I am very proficient in Windows and Linux but ever since I got my Powerbook I haven't been using any other computers. Anyway, I have found the following apps helpful:

    Maple 9.5 http://www.maplesoft.com/ (Symbolic Math Calculator)
    Grapher (Included with Mac OS X) (Graphing Calculator App)
    Physics 101 SE http://www.praetersoftware.com (Nice Physics calculation application)
    MathType http://www.mathtype.com/ (Puts Mathmatical symbols in Word, Pages, Pagemaker, etc)

    I am also interested in finding a suitable AutoCAD replacement (AutoDesk's AutoCAD can only be run under Virtual PC on current Macs) that runs under OS X. There is a wealth of information available at www.architosh.com. Currently good options look like Vectorworks, Archicad, PowerCAD, TurboCAD and MacDraft with Vectorworks and ArchiCAD leading the pack. I'm not sure why, but Mac based CAD solutions tend to use a point-click interface rather than the traditional command-line interface. Also, I am interested in finding out if Mathmatica and MatLAB are better or what uses they have that differ from Maple but my school uses Maple in there labs so I haven't gotten the chance to test it out yet. I guess I will probably find this out as I progress in my major though.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #2

    For Word, does this app offer anything over the standard (installable extra) Equation Editor?
     
  3. Josh396 macrumors 65816

    Josh396

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    #3
    Just out of curiosity, what type of engineering are you majoring in?
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #4
    Equation Editor is a stripped down version of MathType.

    From their site:
    One thing I have heard at lesat is that it can export to TeX.

    B
     
  5. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #5
    Nice. Thanks for that balamw and ddrueckhammer. :)
     
  6. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #6
    I'm in Civil Engineering so I haven't needed to use anything like SolidWorks yet. I do miss AutoCAD though, thats why I'm trying to figure out the best CAD program for 2D. MathType is great! It is a more full featured version of equation editor. A summary of the differences can be found at:
    http://www.mathtype.com/en/products/mathtype/mt_vs_ee.htm
    I was stumped the first time one of my profs wanted me to email him the answer to a math problem with summations in it. I mean you can use f'(x) y' or dy/dx for derivatives but then you have to start using int () and sum () for integrals and summations. MathType makes it much easier to communicate your ideas...
     
  7. mcmadhatter macrumors 6502

    mcmadhatter

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    Bath, UK
    #7
    I am an Electronic Engineering Student, and I find myself using Matlab all the time. It's a well good program, and the academic is ridiculously cheap compared to other academic versions of major pieces of software.
     
  8. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #8
    Cool! I know I have read that Matlab is very prevalent in Engineering disciplines. I think that it doesn't do exactly the same things that Maple/Mathmatica do but I don't have enough experience yet to know what that is. Maple is really nice for getting help with equations that you are having problems solving...If I get stuck on an Integral then I usually fire it up and get some hints. I'll be in DE next semester and I think it will help even more.
    The Physics 101 SE program is very basic physics but if you aren't trying to learn the concepts and just want to quickly solve a physics problem it is very useful for Kinematics, Kinetics, Dynamics, Statics, Fluids, Thermo etc...It basically has all of the formulas and you just plug in the numbers. Its also really cheap..only $10 US. If you have to take any physics and you don't have it you should get it.
     
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    USA
    #9
    The version of Equation Editor built into M$ Word has the standard symbols for summations, integrals, and derivatives. Why exactly can't you use them?
     
  10. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #10
    Here's my $0.02 on the 3 Ms.

    MATLAB: The matrix king. Anything you can represent as matrices (most numerical engineering problems) it can handle. Lots of great signal processing and visualization type modules available. a bit FORTRAN like in syntax.

    Maple: The computer algebra king. As you have found, helps solving symbolic problems. Less strong in numerical solutions than the other two.

    Mathematica: Somewhere between the other two. Computer algebra, excellent at solving PDEs numerically, strong visualization. Very LISP like in its stucture and syntax. At least in my experience, a harder hill to climb to take full advantage of the tool. (Though some people just "get" it.)

    I should add that my direct experience with Maple/Mathematica is dated. I only use MATLAB these days.

    B
     
  11. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

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    Salt Lake City, UT
    #11
    I'm an electrical engineering student, and I use MATLAB literally every day. I have some complaints about the Mac port (X11, not native, somewhat unstable and slow) but all in all, it's a good piece of software. The other app that I use often is MI-SUGAR which is a SPICE circuit simulation app. Virtual PC works fine for those rare times when I need a Windows application.
     
  12. Studawg7 macrumors regular

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    May 15, 2004
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    Cville, VA
    #12

    even though your experience is dated, thats probably the best summary of all the math programs even today. when i take classes like elasticity, maple was perfect b/c of its ability to cut through a lot of the algebra. mathematica is very powerful and it does take time to learn. Matlab is great for programming, controls, visualization, basically any numerical problem you can think of. btw, im a grad student in mech and aero engineering.
     
  13. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #13

    You are right, but when I first was trying to put an equation into Word I didn't realize there was a built-in app. I did some research and found that Microsoft had Design Science's Eq Editor buit into Word. Then, I went to Design Science's page and found out about MathType. MathType has twice as many symbols, formats your Type as you go, gives you a nice tool palette to add things into documents so you don't have to go Insert>Object>Microsoft Equation every time you want to put in an Eq, can be programmed with hotkeys for frequently used expressions etc.

    For the casual user this is overkill, but if you are like me and do math everyday and have to frequently email problems and assignments to my Profs, then it seems to be a very useful app. I think its a bit overpriced, but then again, I didn't choose a Mac because it was least expensive solution.

    Another advantage seems to be that MathType will work with more applications. I may be interested in using Pages in the future because of its integration into iLife but they need to improve it's quality and add functions like mailmerge to it. I'm not sure but I don't think Pages has an equation editor built-in but MathType will work with it. Just my opinion- sorry if I was unclear on why I like MathType- If you want a more comprehensive list of the advantages over Eq Editor click the link at the top of the page.

    Thanks balamw for the information on Maple, Mathmatica, and Matlab. I'm sure I will use Matlab in the future but I havn't taken anything yet that would use it. I have always been curious about Mathmatica because they demo it at Mac Events alot and it looks pretty cool.
     
  14. mcmadhatter macrumors 6502

    mcmadhatter

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    #14
    I use matlab all the time, but my only complaint (apart from the whole x11 thing) is that you have to vectorize all loops or use c to get any speed out of it. apart from that though, it's matrix handling is amazing
     
  15. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #15
    im an ME major and originally learned everything in matlab on a windows machine. ive had profs in different classes use everything, matlab, mathematica and maple. and for everything i have ever used them for (integration, PDEs solving systems of equations, and matrices) they seem about the same. well matlab and mathematica that is, ive never had direct experience with maple, other than my prof's showing demonstrations with it. i currently use mathematica for OS X b/c it was the easiest to use with the mac. didnt have to worry about X11 or such. though i did play around with octave for a while which is an open source program very similar to matlab (except free). unfortunately i had too many problems with matrices and plotting so i decided to shell out the cash and go with mathematica. and so far mathematic has been great.

    as for CAD programs, i gave up looking for those a long time ago, since IMO the above mentioned CAD programs just dont stand up to anything like AutoCAD or ProE.
     
  16. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

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    #16
    I've never used Mathematica, although I've wanted to try it. I have used both Matlab (extensively) and Maple, and I can tell you that they're really nothing a like. Matlab is very much numerically focused, while Maple is primarily for symbolic (algebraic) stuff. Matlab has a symbolic math toolbox, and that technically does some of the same stuff as Maple, but it's much more limited and harder to use. To my way of thinking, Maple is a mathematicians package while Matlab is more focused on engineering/practical computation.
     
  17. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

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    Jun 15, 2000
    #17
    I'm a Computer Engineering student, and we've used Multisim and other circuit drawing/simluating programs on the PC, and there are a few good ones, but there seem to be no equal ones for Mac. Anyone know of one?
     
  18. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

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    #18
    I don't think there's anything as good as Multisim for hybrid analog/digital design on the Mac, but if you're just doing analog (ie. SPICE), MI-SUGAR is quite good.
     
  19. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

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    Jun 15, 2000
    #19
    Hehe too bad I got D's and stuff in my electrical engineering classes, or else I would attempt to create a program for the Mac. :) I guess there just isn't enough demand for that stuff on Macs yet...
     
  20. Melkor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #20
    Anyone know if Samphire is availabe on mac's? It's a microprocessor silulator thing-a-ma-jiggy.

    Also anyone know if R is any good? It's a statistics what-ja-ma-dooda.

    By the way, is Virtual PC expensive and where can I get it?

    Cheers.
     
  21. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

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    Nov 9, 2004
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    Salt Lake City, UT
    #21
    Virtual PC comes in several versions. The most expensive is $250 with a copy of Windows XP included. If you're a student, check with your school, as they may have a way for you to get it cheaper. It's a Microsoft product, and you should be able to get it from any place that generally sells Mac software.
     
  22. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    Aug 8, 2004
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    America's Wang
    #22
    I don't know that much about EE but you might want to check out the offerings at http://www.capilano.com/
    Designworks looks pretty good but I'm unfamiliar with applications available for PC for Circuit design so it may not be all that...

    Just for layout you could also use Omnigraffle Pro 4 but it is really just a charting app..
     
  23. GnarleyMarley macrumors 6502

    GnarleyMarley

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    Apr 23, 2006
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    Atlanta, GA
    #23
    Is there really a graphing calculator that comes with os x? I need one for school, but would rather not spend like $90 on a TI 83 or 84.
     
  24. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    Its called Grapher and you will find it in your Utilities folder. You will also find Calculator in your Applications folder. It emulates a handheld calculator (scientific, basic, or programmer) with either algebraic or RPN entry. It can be toggled to emulate a handheld graphing calculator, but I forget how to do it.
     
  25. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    Jun 22, 2006
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    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    #25
    We used "R" in Stats at Uni, and I hated it. I don't know if MatLab can do all of the functions that R does, but if it can, I would far rather use Matlab than R. There is of course the problem that R is free, and MatLab is certainly not... But then again, MatLab is worth money. I find "R" to be very... It's hard to describe, but it's very clunky in my opinion. You type in a line of code, and it executes. You then type in another, etc. With MatLab, you can write a program so you can seriously cut down on time typing inputs.

    Anyway, anything MatLab doesn't have an inbuilt function for, you could just make your own function file for.

    They are both Mac compatible.

    Although I have only spent an hour every week for 12 weeks using R, and have spent many times that using MatLab, I find that I enjoy using MatLab, while I don't want to learn how to use R any more. It's just an empty shell of a program.
     

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