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Editor’s Pick: Mathcad Prime 2.0 Ships

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

We and everything else change dramatically over time. I, for example, was once viewed by the masses as a Greek god sculpted by Michelangelo. Now, little kids think I’m Santa in civvies. Anyway, people change both physically and spiritually – yet, when we meet old friends, they inevitably remark that we have retained that special something we were back then. Technically speaking, Mathcad is 26 years old in 2012. Like you, it has changed dramatically since Mathsoft introduced it during the Reagan era, yet Mathcad remains what it’s always been: the engineering calculation, documentation, and results sharing system that works like engineers work.

Over a year ago, PTC, which acquired Mathsoft quite awhile ago, announced Mathcad Prime 1.0. It was truly a brand new Mathcad in that it represented a complete overhaul in terms of user interface – it now uses the Microsoft standard ribbon – and all the code underneath that you don’t have to learn because of that interface. Just recently, PTC announced Mathcad Prime 2.0, and it’s a brand new Mathcad that builds off the platform introduced in 1.0. This is a major piece of work.

Some of the features in Mathcad Prime 2.0 include a new symbolic mathematics engine, Open XML-based file format, a new equation editor based on order of operations and precedence, dynamic unit checking, and mixed units in matrices, tables, and plots. There’s native 64-bit support, a new KNITRO multithreaded optimization solver for nonlinear optimization, and expanded integration with Microsoft Excel. Collapsible areas for organizing worksheets are back, and 3D scatter, curve, and surface plots now have unit support.

As I watched the videos linked from today’s Pick of the Week write-up and on the Mathcad Prime web pages, it seemed to me that Mathcad’s new interface makes it easier to combine math notation, text, and graphs, then manipulate them. Performance seems really improved. Frankly, it seems to me that PTC has really hit its stride with Mathcad Prime 2.0.

Still, even with all these major improvements, the thing that got me is that Mathcad Prime 2.0 appears to remain faithful to what Mathcad has always been: an easy-to-use document-centric solution for simultaneously solving, graphing, annotating, documenting, and saving, sharing, and reusing engineering calculations. Only it’s totally new with better performance and a bunch more functionality. Unlike me, I am afraid to say.

You can learn more about Mathcad Prime 2.0 from the write-up today. Make sure to download the chart comparing old and new versions of Mathcad to get a point-by-point idea of what’s new in Mathcad Prime 2.0. And take in some of the videos then sign up for an evaluation unit. It’s really worth your time to get re-acquainted with this new old friend.

 

Thanks, pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.
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