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This year, for Christmas, my children* got a Valve Steam Deck under the Christmas tree.  It's a pretty cool device that looks a little  like a monsterous Nintendo Switch, but it can run an impressive subset of the Steam video game catalog, games mostly designed to run on Windows PCs.  It manages this by sporting a custom x86_64 processor by AMD and running a customized version of Arch Linux that uses Wine via Valve's Proton tool.  The key point here, is that it is a tiny x86_64 compatible computer running Linux. So, of course, I needed to install Maple on it. So, I just paired a bluetooth keyboard, rebooted it into desktop mode and with a few small trick, bam, Maple on the Steam Deck:

There were a few small hiccups that required some work. I had absolutely no problems getting the Maple installer onto the device via a USB drive and no problems running it. I only ran into problems durring license activation:

Fortunately, I talked to our crack technical support team and they were able to identify this as a problem with Arch Linux not having full LSB 3.0 support installed by default. The process for fixing that is documented on the Arch Linux Wiki and involves just installing the ld-lsb package via pacman -- with the small additional wrinkle that you need to take the Steam Deck operating system out of 'read-only' mode in order to do that. But once that was done, I had a full version of Maple running well (albeit at 1280x800 resolution on a 7" display).

Since this device is designed for gaming, I was curious how fast it is compared to some other machines I work on. I chose an arbitrary benchmark of exactly solving a random linear system with integer coefficients.

restart;
N := 400;
A := LinearAlgebra:-RandomMatrix(N, N):
b := LinearAlgebra:-RandomVector(N):
v := [seq(cat(v__, i), i = 1 .. N)]:
sys := LinearAlgebra:-GenerateEquations(A, v, b):
CodeTools:-Usage(SolveTools:-LinearSolvers:-Rational(`~`[lhs - rhs](sys), v, dense = false)):

which it solves in decent time:

For comparison, this is 30% faster than the 32 core Xeon e5 workstation I do most of my work on, and only 5% slower than my notebook computer with an 8th gen Intel i7.  Not bad for a toy! (please don't make me sad by telling me how much faster this is on a Mac M1 or M2)

Let me know in the comments if you have other benchmarks you want me to run on the Steam Deck. Also, please let me know if you manage to get your employer to buy you a Steam Deck to do scientific computing.

 

*Okay, maybe it was a gift for me. Shhhh, don't tell.

Featured Post

Have you ever wondered who the students are that help create Maplesoft’s family of products?

In this blog, we thought that it was fitting to introduce ourselves and give the MaplePrimes community some insight into the students who are committed to helping Maplesoft improve its products and who believe that Math Matters!

I’ll begin. My name is Jack Thomson and I’m in my second year of the Mathematics (Waterloo) and Business Administration (Laurier) Double Degree. This term I am the Product Management Co-op at Maplesoft where I will be helping support the development of Maplesoft's academic market products, including Maple Learn and Maple Calculator. My favorite areas of math are statistics and probability. These areas are my favorite since I like to be able to draw conclusions from data and predict the future with past trends. I am also fascinated with probability since it allows us to make more educated decisions about real-life events. This ties into my belief of why Math Matters, since it is hidden in every aspect of life and helps us understand the world around us. Besides my love for the world of mathematics, I love the outdoors, more specifically, mountain biking, backcountry camping, and skiing. I also enjoy taking photos, watching Formula 1, playing hockey, and improving my skills in the kitchen.

Continue reading below to find out more about my fellow Co-op students!

Development:

I’m Zhengmao (he/him), and I’m a third year in Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I’ll be working until the end of April here at Maplesoft as a Software Developer, where I’ll be working to fix bugs, add new features, and improve existing ones for our Maple Learn as well as Maple Calculator products. By the way, if you ever have any suggestions or ideas about them, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

I’ve always been curious about working at a math company because I’ve always been so interested in math. In fact, Maplesoft is the only company I’ve consistently applied to every time I’ve gone through the Co-op application cycle! However, there’s not really any particular reason why I enjoy the subject. I find math to be beautiful in and of itself, almost like an art, and I find the kinds of math that are more discrete or algebraic tend to be a little nicer. As long as there aren’t decimals, I’m pretty happy. So, my ideal kind of math is just that: ideal! Exact values, unrealistic ideas, and as few numbers as possible. In terms of my university career, I’ve always enjoyed linear algebra much more than calculus.

Overall, I’m quite excited for this term at Maplesoft. I’ve never worked in web or mobile development before, so I’m looking forward to learning a lot of new things!

Content Creation:

Hi, I’m Paige (she/her). I am a second-year Honors Mathematics student at the University of Waterloo. This term, I am creating content for the Maple Learn document gallery. My favorite area of math is calculus because I love visualizing functions. Math matters because it is a universal language. All the math concepts we know are naturally occurring; people have observed and documented them, but no one invented them. Because of this, people from a wide range of cultures have come to the same conclusions (ex: defining pi). Math is universally understandable, which is why it can be used to connect everyone on earth (and maybe on other planets too!?!?!?!). In my free time, I like doing hand embroidery, playing video games, and cuddling my cat Licky.

A cat sitting on a window sill

Description automatically generated with low confidence

 

My name is Laura (she/her) and I’m a second year in the math program at the University of Waterloo. This term, I am working as a ‘Math Content Developer’ at Maplesoft; I’ll be creating and scripting documents for Maple Learn’s Example Gallery, updating older content, and handling customer requests. My favorite areas of math are probability, since I find questions like the Birthday Problem interesting, and biostatistics because I enjoy learning about biology and how biological experiments can be analyzed mathematically. I believe math matters because mathematics is essential to sending equipment and people into outer space; we will never meet aliens without using math.

Quality Assurance:

Hey, my name is Stefan, I'm 19 years old and currently studying Biochemistry in second year at the University of Waterloo. I am a QA analyst here at Maplesoft, working on Maple 2023. Outside of school, a hobby of mine is making digital art. My favorite area of math is definitely calculus & analysis because I found learning the fundamental theorem really intuitive and engaging. Expanding on that, I believe math matters because of its many applications in other fields such as the use of calculus in the research and design aspects of Biochemistry.

 

Hey! My name is Steven Mou, I'm in CFM at UWaterloo and I'm going into my 2B term after this term. I'm one of the four QA Analyst interns and I'll be testing all things related to Maple. My favorite area of math is anything related to algebra. I just find being able to manipulate variables while maintaining the integrity of the final product, to be very fascinating. I believe math matters because our lives are pretty much completely founded by math; anything from the technology that we use to the logic that is the foundation of our thoughts. I like playing sports, dabbling with different recipes in the kitchen, and discussing any shows that I happen to always finish too quickly.

 

Hi, my name is Aidan and I'm a 3rd-year mathematical physics student working as a quality assurance analyst for this Co-op term. As a Co-op student working in QA, I will mostly be running tests and reporting bugs to help ensure that Maple 2023 as well as Maple Flow are ready for release. My favorite area of math is vector calculus because as I started learning it I found it very interesting in the ways it applies to things we use in our everyday life. It also combines Linear Algebra and Calculus in a way that I never would have expected before learning about it. I think that math matters because I feel as though everything you can interact with can be described and predicted mathematically and that amazes me.

 

Hello! My name is Sebastian, I am currently in my second year of physics and astronomy at UWaterloo, and for this Co-op, at Maplesoft, I am working as a quality assurance analyst. In this position, I will be performing tests on Maple and Maple Flow to ensure that when they are released they function as they should and are ready for consumers to use with ease. When I am not focused on my academics I enjoy spending my time playing soccer (also watching it), listening to music, and watching movies. My favorite area of math is calculus because of the interesting and complex problems it provides, and because it is an essential tool needed to understand how the universe works. I believe that math matters because, as teachers always remind us, it is all around us. Math provides the foundation for everything we know and have come to appreciate in our lives, so since it is seen so often in our lives, I believe we should put in the effort to understand it and grasp how cool it is.



Indenting List Items?

Maple asked by sbergman12... 10 Yesterday