Featured Post

We’re kicking off 2018 right, with another Meet Your Developers interview! This edition comes from Erik Postma, Manager of the Mathematical Software Group.

To catch up on previous interviews, search the “meet-your-developers” tag.

Without further ado…


  1. What do you do at Maplesoft?
    I’m the manager of the mathematical software group, a team of 7 mathematicians and computer scientists working on the mathematical algorithms in Maple (including myself). So my work comes in two flavours: I do the typical managerial things, involving meetings to plan new features and solve my team’s day to day problems, and in the remaining time I do my own development work.
  2. What did you study in school?
    I studied at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. The first year, I took a combined program of mathematics and computer science; then for the rest of my undergrad, I studied mathematics. The program was called Applied Mathematics, but with the specialization I took it really wasn’t all that applied at all. Afterwards I continued in the PhD program at the same university, where my thesis was on a subject in abstract algebra (Lie algebras over finite fields).
  3. What area(s) of Maple are you currently focusing on in your development?
    I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past two years making the facilities for working with units of measurement in Maple easier to use. There is a very powerful package for doing this that has been part of Maple for many years, but we keep hearing from our users it’s difficult to use. So I’ve worked on keeping the power of the package but making it easier to use.
  4. What’s the coolest feature of Maple that you’ve had a hand in developing?
    This was actually working on a problem in a part of the code that existed long before I started with Maplesoft. We have a very clever algorithm for drawing random numbers according to a custom, user-specified probability distribution. I wrote about it on MaplePrimes in a series of four blog posts, here. I’ve talked at various workshops and the like about this algorithm and how it is implemented in Maple.
  5. What do you like most about working at Maplesoft? How long have you worked here?
    I love working at the crossroads of mathematics and computer science; there aren’t many places in the world where you can do that as much as at Maplesoft. But the best thing is the people I work with: us mathematicians are all crazy in slightly different ways, and that makes for a very interesting working environment.
  6. Favourite hobby?
    Ultimate frisbee. I captain a mixed (i.e., coed) team called The Clockwork. (We play in orange jerseys – it references the book/movie A Clockwork Orange.) We play in a couple of local leagues, and some of the other members also work here. We don’t win much – but we work hard and have fun!
  7. What do you like on your pizza?
    Mushrooms. Mushrooms on everything!
  8. What’s your favourite movie?
    Probably Black Book, a dark movie about the Dutch resistance in the second world war from 2006, directed by Paul Verhoeven. I think what I like best about it is that it highlights the moral shades of grey in even so morally elevated a group as the resistance.
  9. What skill would you love to learn? Why?
    I’d love to learn to speak Russian! I’m trying, but I have a very hard time with it. It would allow me to communicate with my in-laws more easily; they speak Russian.
  10. Who’s your favourite mathematician?
    Oh, so many to choose from! I’m torn between:
  • Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), known as the first programmer.
  • Felix Klein (1849-1925), driving force behind a lot of research into geometries and their underlying symmetry groups.
  • Wilhelm Killing (1847-1923), a secondary school teacher who made big contributions to the theory of Lie algebras.

Or wait, can I choose my wife?

Featured Post

The Joint Mathematics Meetings are taking place this week (January 10 – 13) in San Diego, California, U.S.A. This will be the 101th annual winter meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the 124nd annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

Maplesoft will be exhibiting at booth #505 as well as in the networking area. Please stop by our booth or the networking area to chat with me and other members of the Maplesoft team, as well as to pick up some free Maplesoft swag or win some prizes.

There are also several interesting Maple-related talks and events happening this week - I would definitely not miss the talk by our own Paulina Chin on grading sketch graphs.


Using Symbol-Crunching to find ALL Sucker's Bets (with given deck sizes). 

AMS Special Session on Applied and Computational Combinatorics, II 
Wednesday January 10, 2018, 2:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

Shalosh B. Ekhad, Rutgers University, New Brunswick 
Doron Zeilberger*, Rutgers University, New Brunswick 

Collaborative Research: Maplets for Calculus. 

MAA Poster Session: Projects Supported by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education 
Thursday January 11, 2018, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Philip B. Yasskin*, Texas A&M University 
Douglas B. Meade, University of South Carolina 
Matthew Barry, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service 
Andrew Crenwelge, Texas A&M University 
Joseph Martinson, Texas A&M University 
Matthew Weihing, Texas A&M University


Automated Grading of Sketched Graphs in Introductory Calculus Courses. 

AMS Special Session on Visualization in Mathematics: Perspectives of Mathematicians and Mathematics Educators, I 

Friday January 12, 2018, 9:00 a.m.

Dr. Paulina Chin*, Maplesoft 


Semantic Preserving Bijective Mappings of Mathematical Expressions between LaTeX and Computer Algebra Systems.

AMS Special Session on Mathematical Information in the Digital Age of Science, III 
Friday January 12, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-9:20 a.m.

Howard S. Cohl*, NIST 


Interactive Animations in MYMathApps Calculus. 

MAA General Contributed Paper Session on Mathematics and Technology 
Saturday January 13, 2018, 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m.

Philip B. Yasskin*, Texas A&M University 
Andrew Crenwelge, Texas A&M University 
Joseph Martinsen, Texas A&M University 
Matthew Weihing, Texas A&M University 
Matthew Barry, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station 


Applying Maple Technology in Calculus Teaching To Create Artwork. 

MAA General Contributed Paper Session on Teaching and Learning Calculus, II 
Saturday January 13, 2018, 2:15 p.m.

Lina Wu*, Borough of Manhattan Community College-The City University of New York


If you are attending the Joint Math meetings this week and plan on presenting anything on Maple, please feel free to let me know and I'll update this list accordingly.

See you in San Diego!


Maple Product Manager

Importing an image in Maple 7

Maple 7 asked by das1404 55 January 21

conclude not equations

Maple 2015 asked by minhhieuh2... 25 January 20

rearrange matrix variables

Maple asked by ssara 10 January 20

Help limit fraction

Maple 2015 asked by minhhieuh2... 25 January 20