Mathematica Journal
Volume 9, Issue 4


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Tricks of the Trade
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Trott's Corner
New Products
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Breaking the Memory Barrier with 64-Bit Computing, Adding Multicore Performance

Hot on the heels of Mathematica 5.1, itself released just eight months ago, 5.2 brings 64-bit technology to all supported platforms--an industry first. More than 4.3GB of memory (the 32-bit address limit) can now be addressed, and high-precision or large numbers are processed in 64-bit rather than 32-bit digit chunks for faster computation.

"Mathematica users push the limits of computing--constantly requiring more memory and computational horsepower. That is why we have decided to be first to market with all-platform 64-bit and multicore support," said Roger Germundsson, director of research and development. "And we've been able to do this because of our state-of-the art software engineering processes and close working partnerships with platform vendors such as Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and Sun Microsystems."

"Mathematica is now the ideal environment for large computations and simulations," said Tom Wickham-Jones, director of kernel technology. "From 5.0 onwards we've dramatically sped up computation, reduced memory usage, and introduced grid computing; now with 5.2 we've enabled Mathematica to take advantage of more memory and more CPUs for computation, too."

Mathematica 5.2 also supports automatically threaded numerical linear algebra on all mainstream platforms, enabling linear algebra operations to automatically run in parallel on all available processor cores whether multiple or multicore CPUs. Mainstream multicore-based systems are now available and are expected to be ubiquitous by early next year, including in notebooks and entry-level systems.

Mathematica 5.2 contains many additional enhancements, including:

  • 64-bit-enhanced arbitrary-precision numerics
  • Vector-based performance enhancements
  • Automatic binary installation selection
  • Bundled notebook indexing for desktop search
  • SSH support for secure remote kernels
  • vCard and RSS import
  • New algorithms for symbolic differential equations
  • Enhanced performance for linear Diophantine systems
  • Enhanced quadratic quantifier elimination
  • Singular-case support for high-level special functions
  • Enhanced statistics charts
  • MathematicaMark 5.2 benchmark now covering grids and clusters

"If you're at the frontiers of technical work, you need computing technology that is as well," said Conrad Wolfram, director of strategic development. "Mathematica 5.2 again demonstrates our commitment to rapid and continuing support for the latest computing technology."

More information is available on the Mathematica website.

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