Euler v4.12 | - by Dr. Dirk Terrell |

have long touted OS/2 as a platform for scientists because of its robustness, and also because of the quality software available at little or no cost. Like most scientists whose work involves intensive computing, I have grown accustomed to using some flavor of Unix, so tools like vi, grep, etc. are invaluable. Because of the freely available OS/2 ports of almost all of these tools, my OS/2 command prompt is almost indistinguishable from the Unix machines I use.

Then there are gems like Euler for OS/2 by Dr. Rene Grothmann which is a powerful mathematics tool for doing numerical calculations with real and complex numbers, matrices, and intervals. Unlike more extensive tools like Maple or Mathematica, however, it is not a symbolic processor.

Euler sports many built-in functions for doing a wide variety of calculations. I was particularly impressed with its ability to perform calculations with matrices. The notation is compact and logical, and the expected functions are available such as inverse, transpose, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, LU-decomposition, etc. There are also several advanced functions that make it very easy to solve problems involving matrices such as least squares solutions. While there are too many built-in functions to list here, most of the ones you would expect are available including statistical functions (Mean and standard deviation are, surprisingly, not defined internally but are trivial to define on program startup), Fast Fourier Transform, interpolation, polynomial functions, and interval functions.

The ability to visualize results is often just as important as the ability to calculate them and Euler does a good job when it comes to creating and printing graphics. You have full control over the plot parameters such as axes, labels, colors, etc. and you can create both 2 and 3-dimensional plots. For 3-D functions you can create mesh, contour, wireframe, and density plots. A handy feature is the ability to plot graphs on top of another. The printed output of Euler is superb, and is certainly of publication quality.

Euler also has its own BASIC-like programming language so that you can extend its capabilities should the built-in functions be insufficient for your needs. The language constructs include loops and decision structures for building your own functions, and you have several debugging functions at your disposal. There are also low-level functions for reading and writing files to disk.

by Dr. Rene Grothmann

download from Hobbes (ZIP, 465k)

Dr. Dirk Terrell is an astronomer at the University of Florida specializing in interacting binary stars. His hobbies include cave diving, martial arts, painting and writing OS/2 software such as HTML Wizard.

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