Maplesoft Blog

The Maplesoft blog contains posts coming from the heart of Maplesoft. Find out what is coming next in the world of Maple, and get the best tips and tricks from the Maple experts.

Maple Learn is a great tool for checking the answer to your math problems, but what happens when your answer is wrong and you don’t know why? Knowing there’s a mistake doesn’t actually tell you what that mistake is. Luckily for you, Maple Learn’s newest feature is here to help you out: steps! Now, with the click of a button, you can see full, step-by-step solutions to a wide variety of problems. Instead of endlessly pouring over your work to find that one misplaced negative sign, you can check the steps to quickly and easily spot where you went wrong. Plus, if you’re having trouble figuring out how to approach a problem, you can sneak a peek at the first few steps to get the ball rolling. Full solutions are an invaluable learning tool, and we’re excited to be able to share them with our users.

A screenshot of Maple Learn showing the derivative of an equation. Next to the derivative is a button labeled Steps, with a graphic of a pair of footsteps.

Getting the steps is simple. When you perform an operation using the Context Panel, you’ll see a “Steps” button appear next to the solution when steps are available. Just click this button! This will take you to a new Maple Learn document showing you a full, detailed solution. Plus, if you want to bring the steps into another document, you can then click the “Copy to Clipboard” button. Checking your solution has never been easier!

What sorts of problems do we have steps for, you might ask? Good question! The answer is a resounding “most of them”. Are you a high schooler? We’ve got steps for factoring, expansion, and solving both equations and linear systems. Doing calculus? Derivatives, integrals, limits, and even solving differential equations all have full solutions available. How about linear algebra? Absolutely! We provide steps for Gauss-Jordan elimination, matrix inversion, finding eigenvalues and eigenvectors, and calculating the determinant! And that’s just a taste of what Maple Learn can do. We’re working constantly to expand our roster of steps, so let us know what you want to see!

I hear what some of you must be thinking: “But what about when I don’t have my computer with me? I never know when I’m going to need a step-by-step solution to a math problem!” If that’s you, then check out the Maple Calculator! The Maple Calculator provides full solutions just like Maple Learn, and you can carry it around in your pocket for math-on-the-go. With Maple Learn and the Maple Calculator on your side, no math problem can stop you now.

Our grand quest to expand and improve Maple Learn is marching steadily along, and we wanted to share with you some of what we’ve been working on! We’ve added some exciting new features that we hope you’ll enjoy.

First up, we’ve added a new command: the Shaded command. This allows you to shade the area beneath a curve—perfect for helping students understand and visualize integrals. It also looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

A screenshot of Maple Learn featuring a cosine function with the area under the curve coloured in.

We’ve also added a few new symbols to our roster. You can now enter the not-equals sign through the Numbers and Operators menu, and we’ve added the upper-case Greek alphabet to the Greek symbols menu. Now you can write your documents entirely in Greek! (Or you can just use them as symbols.)

If you’d rather keep the Latin alphabet, but do want to shake things up a bit, we’ve got just the thing for you: you can now choose either a Serif or Sans Serif font. With that and our other text editing tools, you’ll be able to customize the design of your document to your heart’s content.

If you’re one of our users who requested support for mixed fractions, today is your lucky day! Maple Learn now fully supports mixed fractions, and you can convert between mixed and improper fractions using the Context Panel.

A screenshot of Maple Learn showing 3 and 5/7 being converted to 26/7, and 11/9 being converted to 1 and 2/9.

We also wanted to take the time to mention some of the bugs we’ve fixed based on user feedback. Thanks to you, we have now:

  • Fixed tooltips for floor and ceiling functions
  • Resolved the issue of Maple Learn slowing when using asin(x) in equations
  • Fixed typesetting bug when entering inequalities with fractions
  • Added more support for dealing with units in tables and equations

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their feedback. Your reports are what allowed us to fix these issues. If you ever have feedback for us, whether it’s a bug you’ve found or a feature you’d like to see, use the “Flag a Problem” button to let us know. Maybe it’ll be your suggestion you see here next!

A few weeks ago, some of our sales and marketing representatives decided to spice up some emails with some whimsical poetry. We sent them out to a selection of people, but we thought they were too fun not to share with everyone else! After all, what better way to talk about math products than through poetry? So without further ado, we’re proud to present our collection of mathematical verses:

I.

Math teachers and students, hear this tale of mine

Maple Learn will help you, and it’s online

 

The interface is freeform, the plots a delight

With Maple behind it, you know they are right

 

Solve problems from calculus? Easily done!

Algebra, matrices, even trig becomes fun.

 

Solve line by line, or all in one go

With Maple Learn, you work fast or work slow

 

Applications are endless, the basic version is free

Fully unlock it for just a small fee

 

Are you a teacher, from small school or great hall?

Maple Learn Premium is free when you call!

 

II.

Maple Learn is great, as I hope you recall

But when it comes to math products, that’s not all

 

Do you have a math problem right before your eyes?

Pull out your phone, is what I advise

 

A click of your camera, a solution shown to you

Solutions, graphs, and even steps too!

 

Integrals, matrices, factoring, and more

Maple Calculator solves problems galore

 

And when find you have even more to do

The problem in the picture reaches Maple Learn too!

 

Teaching these days can be quite a task

Our products can help you, you’ve only to ask

 

III.

My final approach, I’ll disturb you no more

Just one final poem for you is in store

 

On Maple Learn, there’s much more I could say

But instead, here are examples with which you can play

 

And Maple Calculator too, please don’t forget it

Give it a try, I know you won’t regret it.

 

My poems are now done, my inspiration depleted

Thanks for your patience as by my poems, you were greeted

 

We hope you had as much fun reading that as we did writing it. Stay tuned for next week, where we’ll be posting Maple Learn: The Musical! (Just kidding. Unless…?)

With most software, it can take time to learn all the ins and outs and little tricks that make using the software easier. Have you ever learned a new keyboard shortcut for a software you’ve been using for years and found it so useful that you’re kicking yourself not learning it earlier? I certainly have. We thought we’d take the time to highlight five tips and tricks for using Maple Learn, so that you can skip the kicking stage and go straight to the using the cool trick stage!

 

1. Convert math to text

Here’s the trick that I probably use the most: You can press the spacebar in an empty cell to convert it to text. Just like that! No fiddling with menus, no starting to type and then backtracking as you realize all your words are turning into variables. Just a quick space at then beginning, and then you can type as much text as you’d like. Click the text icon on the left to change it back to math if you change your mind.

An empty math cell in Maple Learn, followed by an arrow and

2. Assigning variables

Have you ever wanted to assign a value to a variable? Who hasn’t? And luckily, Maple Learn makes it easy to do just that. Just use “:=”. For example, you could say “a:=4”. The variable ‘a’ will now have a value of 4 for that group and all subsequent groups. What’s more, a slider will appear, so that you can adjust the value and see how it affects the rest of the document. You can change the range of the slider using the slider settings (that’s the gear) or disable the slider using the Quick Actions menu (that’s the lightbulb). You can also select “Parameterize …” from the Quick Actions menu when you have an expression that contains variables, and sliders will be automatically created for those variables. Another trick to variable assignments is that if you have a table, you can use the header of your table as a variable that contains all the values in that column. No extra work necessary, Maple Learn does this automatically!

A screenshot of Maple Learn showing a parameterized expression with sliders for each variable. There is also a table with a single column. In the next group, the label of that column is shown to be equal to all the values in that column.

3. Order of execution

One handy feature about Maple Learn is that once you’ve assigned values to variables, you can use those variables again for all the groups that come after it. But hold on, I hear you say. How is that order determined? The Maple Learn canvas is dynamic and doesn’t have a set order to it, so which groups are “after”? Well, I’m glad you asked! The small grey number in the top left-hand corner of the group tells you its place in the order. Maple Learn evaluates any assignments according to this order, which means that a variable assigned in group 3 can be used in any group after 3, but not in groups 1 and 2. The order is determined based on where the groups are on the page, starting with 1 in the top-right corner and moving left to right, top to bottom across the page. That means that if you want to change a group’s place to earlier in the order of execution, all you have to do is move the group higher or to the left! The numbers (and thus the order of execution) will update automatically. Handy.

A screenshot of Maple Learn with the group numbers circled in red. The variable defined in group 1 is accessible in groups 2 and 3, and the variable defined in group 2 is accessible in group 3.

4. “Reset document” vs. “Clear document”

You may have noticed two seemingly similar buttons in the toolbar: “Reset document” and “Clear document”. Here’s a little secret: they do actually do different things! Say you’re looking at a shared document, like one of the ones in our Example Gallery. You can mess around with it as much as you’d like: change values, add groups to the canvas, zoom around on the graph, whatever suits your fancy. But, if you decide that you don’t like your changes and want to go back to the original document, you can hit “Reset document” and presto! Back to the original. And “Clear document” will, of course, clear the document.

A labelled screenshot of the Reset and Clear buttons in Maple Learn.

5. Using the keyboard

Are you the type of person who would rather use three keyboard commands to perform a single action than go anywhere near a mouse? Well, you’re in luck, because Maple Learn has several keyboard commands you can use to input functions without even thinking about looking at a menu. You can use standard keyboard math notation and Maple Learn will automatically format it as you would expect: ^ for exponents, * for multiplication, / for division, and so on. What’s more, you can enter “sqrt()” to write a square root symbol, and you can type in any trig function and Maple Learn will treat it as that function! You can see a full list of keyboard shortcuts here. All these things are also available through the palette menus, so a variety of workflows are supported.

An image showing how sqrt(3x^4)/2 is displayed in math notation in Maple Learn.

So there you have it, our top five tricks for using Maple Learn. If you’re looking for a more detailed guide on how to use Maple Learn, check out the How-To pages at the bottom of our Example Gallery. And if you have any tips you’ve found useful for using Maple Learn, let us and your fellow MaplePrimes users know in the comments!

Has this ever happened to you? You’re using Maple Learn, and having a grand old time, but suddenly! The horror! You notice a bug! Of course, it’s a shocking experience to realize that our products are not, in fact, flawless, but unfortunately it’s true. There are bugs. But, what’s this? There’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon… the Flag a Problem button! By using the Flag a Problem button, you can let us know about the problem you found, and with the power of our mighty development team, we’ll fix it! Yes, with our forces combined… we can defeat all of these bugs!

A picture of the Flag a Problem button with glowing rays surrounding it.

In all seriousness, we really do appreciate your feedback. Whether you’ve spotted a bug or are looking for a new feature, let us know! We’re constantly updating and improving Maple Learn, and user feedback is a hugely important part of this process. For example, we had a user suggest that Maple Learn treat Δt as a single entity, as in physics that notation is used to mean a change in time rather than Δ times t. And we’re happy to announce that this is now a feature! Here’s just a taste of some of the other things we’ve changed based on user feedback:

  • Can now use the Context Panel to evaluate operations with matrices
  • Maximum number of intersection points shown has increased to 20
  • Intersection points now shown for parametric equations and circles
  • Using the Context Panel no longer scrolls the page
  • Quick Actions menu no longer parameterizes the f of f(x)
  • Fixed display bug for inverse trig functions

Evidently, not every piece of feedback we get is a feature request. Sometimes there’s bugs! And we want to hear about those too. In all honesty, I think it’s pretty neat to see the bugs I’ve reported being fixed. It wasn’t too long ago that I noticed a small error with tables—when the header of the table had a subscript, pressing the down arrow jumped to the next group instead of the next row. I reported it, and now it’s fixed! I can’t help but feeling a little smug, like I’m the one who fixed it. Of course, the credit for the actual code goes to our developers. But it is also true that they wouldn’t have fixed it if no one had pointed it out. Truly, teamwork makes the dream work. And if you want to feel smug about the bug you pointed out being fixed, or the feature you asked for being added, then head on over to that Flag a Problem button. Let us know what you want to see and we’ll listen. What’s more, we’ll be making more posts every now and then to let you know about what’s new with Maple Learn and what we’ve changed based on your feedback. That way you have something to print out and frame on your wall as proof of the contribution you’ve made to Maple Learn! (Or I suppose you could just read it. But where’s the fun in that?)

Over the last few months, we’ve had the honour of working with some fantastic online content creators who share our goals of helping make math accessible to students. We wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the great things they’ve done and how they’ve been able to use Maple Learn and the Maple Calculator to help explain math concepts to their audiences. Whether you’re looking to learn or searching for ways to make math engaging to others, these content creators are worth checking out!

Much as some may complain about “attention spans these days”, there is definitely merit in being able to clearly explain high school level math in under a minute. If you’re looking for tips and tricks to help you understand math concepts, look no further than Justice the Tutor, whose TikTok is full of easy-to-understand videos explaining how to solve a wide variety of problems. You can check out his video on solving systems of equations here.

I think it’s fair to assume that most people reading this like math, but all of us are multi-faceted individuals—so who’s also into drag? Online Kyne is, and she explains tons of math concepts in a fun, engaging, and sparkly way. Check out her video on 3D plots (and her matching 3D-glasses-themed eye makeup) here!

If you’re looking for more ways to have fun with math, check out Tom Rocks Math, run by the University of Oxford’s Dr Tom Crawford. He rose to fame with his “Naked Mathematician” series, but even his clothed videos explain difficult math topics in ways that are clear and accessible. You can see how he tackles a complex topic like partial differentiation here.

Whether you’re looking for a refresher or to learn something new, Dr Trefor Bazett’s YouTube channel has everything from cool math facts to complete courses on calculus, linear algebra, and more. If you don’t mind feeling called out for that one dumb mistake you made on a test once, this video on common algebra mistakes is a great resource for both students and teachers. What’s more, we’re excited to announce that Dr Trefor Bazett will be hosting a Maplesoft webinar where he’ll be discussing how to design effective interactive learning activities! The webinar will be on June 15, and you can sign up here. This promises to be a fascinating talk and a great way to get tips from someone whose online presence exemplifies his skill at getting people to engage with math, so we hope you’ll check it out.

These content creators are just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve also been working with Bobby Seagull, a math teacher and author, and TikTok personalities nerdynas and tamerxi, whose student-centric content is both fun and useful. For our Japanese audiences, you can also check out Kantaro Suzuki’s videos on solving a variety of math problems, and Takumi’s video where he brought in other YouTubers to compete in a puzzle challenge using the Maple Calculator!

We’re so thrilled to see how these amazing content creators are using Maple Learn and the Maple Calculator to create new content and engage with their audiences. It’s very exciting for us to be working with so many people who share our goals of making math accessible and interesting, and we love seeing what they’ve done with our products. Whether you’re a student looking to further understand your courses, a teacher looking to find more ways to engage with your students, or just someone who wants to learn more about math, these videos are all a fantastic resource. It’s clear that all these content creators have a passion for math, and as people who share that passion, we’re so happy to be working with them to help others find their own interest in math.

We’ve been working hard on Maple Learn since its release, and we wanted to share some of the many updates we’ve made. If there was a feature you were looking for that we didn’t have, it might be time to check again! Here’s just a taste of some of the things we’ve been working on.

Given its name, perhaps it’s not surprising that our focus with Maple Learn is to help students learn math. That’s why we’ve improved many of Maple Learn’s math capabilities, to give students the best experience we can. We’ve added support for piecewise functions and vector norms/magnitudes, and made many improvements to tables based on user feedback. Are you more of a statistician? Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve also added various statistics options to the Context Panel, which allow you to calculate mean, median, linear regression, and more. We’ve also made a handful of improvements to evaluation and assignment that we hope will make Maple Learn more intuitive for users.

Maple Learn isn’t just about math, though—it’s about making math accessible. That means communicating clearly, so luckily, we’ve added several new text editing features to help you do just that. You can now use bold, italics, underline, hyperlinks, and changeable font sizes and colours. You can even collapse the plot window and Context Panel if you need a larger workspace or if your problem doesn’t require them. Now your documents will be both easy to follow and stylish!

Speaking of stylish documents, we’ve also made various improvements to how functions can be visualized. There are a couple I’d like to point out to you: You can plot points by adding values to a table! What’s more, you can then move these points around the plot and your table will update automatically. You can also add points and other geometric plot primitives like line segments and vectors using the commands Point, Segment, and Vector. As well, if you have multiple functions plotted, you can see the intersection points by clicking the “Show special points” button. If points aren’t your style, we’ve also added support for some more types of plots, such as parametric plots. When working with differential equations, you can also plot the vector field for that equation. To learn how to use these features and more, check out the “How To” section at the bottom of our Example Gallery. We’re working on more help documentation everyday to help you use Maple Learn to its full potential.

Finally, we’ve made a handful of miscellaneous changes that should help improve your overall experience with Maple Learn. For example, users can now save a copy of their document. We’ve also translated many of our examples to different languages, and are working on translating more everyday. We hope that all these changes and updates will help you get the most out of Maple Learn. If there are features you’d like to see, don’t hesitate to let us know. We add improvements to Maple Learn regularly, so keep an eye out for future updates on Primes!

We have just released an update to Maple, Maple 2021.1.

Maple 2021.1 includes improvements to plotting, export to PDF and LaTeX, the user interface, the mathematics engine, and more. We strongly recommend that all Maple 2021 users install these updates.

This update is available through Tools>Check for Updates in Maple, and is also available from our website on the Maple 2021.1 download page, where you can also find more details.

In particular, please note that this update includes fixes to the sometimes missing plotting toolbar, the misplaced plot annotations on export, and a workbook saving problem, all reported on MaplePrimes.

Thanks for the feedback!

 

We’re excited to announce the release of MapleSim 2021! The MapleSim 2021 family of products lets you build and explore models more easily than ever, with improved simulation performance and 3-D visualizations, new ways to share models with those who don’t use MapleSim, and a host of new and expanded component libraries. Improvements include:

  • Improved performance for large models that allows you to take advantage of the fastest simulations yet – no matter how complex your design is.
  • More realistic 3-D visualizations with the ability to define dynamic shape sizes, such as spheres and cylinders that expand or contract over the course of the simulation, so components are realistically represented throughout.
  • Expanded modeling scope for machine builders, with a new pneumatics component library and expanded hydraulics support, as well as improved visualizations in the MapleSim Ropes and Pulleys Library add-on.
  • New simulation and analysis features in MapleSim Insight, a standalone product in the MapleSim family that provides anyone in your organization with access to powerful simulation-based debugging and 3-D visualization capabilities that connect directly to common automation platforms.

See What’s New in MapleSim 2021 for more information about these and other improvements!
 

When we first launched Maple Learn in January, there were only a handful of examples in the Example Gallery. Today, due to customer requests, we have 57 examples and the number grows every week. You can check out the gallery here: https://www.maplesoft.com/products/learn/examples/

The gallery is full of both practical and fun examples showing how you can use Maple Learn to work with all kinds of math. One great example is this worksheet on Logarithmic and Archimedean spirals made by our Sales Account Manager, @Oliver K. You can learn a bit about each type of spiral and adjust the sliders to see how the different parameters change the visualization. It’s a great tool for introducing students (or anyone who likes cool graphs!) to these types of spirals and for helping them understand the math behind them.

We’ve got a whole team of people, led by Senior Architect @pchin, who are working every day to make more examples like these. If there’s something you’d like to see, leave us a comment! We’d love to hear your ideas.

If you’re feeling inspired by all these examples and want to try your hand at creating something of your own using Maple Learn, check out the “How to Use Maple Learn” section at the end of the example gallery. Here you’ll find a collection of worksheets that will take you through the basic features of Learn, including “Using Sliders”, “Difference Between Equations and Assignments”, and “What Does the Light Bulb Do?”. With all this knowledge at your fingertips, you’ll be all set to create to your heart’s content!

Some of you know me from my occasional posts on Maple’s typesetting and plotting features, but today, I am here in my new role as co-chair (along with Rob Corless of Western University) of the 2021 Maple Conference. I am pleased to announce that we have just opened the Call for Presentations.

This year’s conference will be held Nov. 2 – Nov. 5, 2021. It will be a free virtual event again this year, making it an excellent opportunity to share your Maple-related work with others without the expenses and inconveniences of travel.

Maple Conference 2021 invites submissions of proposals for presentations on a range of topics related to Maple, including Maple in education, algorithms and software, and applications. All presenters will be given the option of submitting a full paper, which will undergo peer review, and if accepted, be included in the conference proceedings.

Presentation proposals are due June 1, 2021.

You can find more information about the themes of the conference, how to submit a presentation proposal, and the program committee on Maplesoft Conference Call for Presentations.

Registration for attending the conference will open in June. Another announcement will be made at that time.

I sincerely hope that all of you here in the Maple Primes community will consider joining us for this event, whether as a presenter or attendee.

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new math tool called Maple Flow. Here, I’ll outline our motivation for developing this product, and talk about its features.

A large fraction of Maple users are professional engineers .

All use Maple, but very few say that they do math for a living, in much the same way a plumber wouldn’t say they use a wrench for a living.

They say things like:

  • I design concrete retaining walls
  • I simulate the transients on a transmission line
  • I design heat exchangers
  • I model the absorbency of diapers
  • I design subsea pipelines
  • I need to optimize the trajectory of a space shuttle
  • I work for a power generation company doing load flow analysis
  • I model how a robot arm needs to move

Some of these applications are mathematically simple (but are based on scientific principles, such as the conservation of heat, mass and momentum). The equations consist of basic arithmetic operations, trig and log functions, sprinkled with the occasional numeric integration.

Sometimes, the equations are already formalized in design guides, published by organizations like the IEEE, ASME or ISO. Given the specific physical context, engineers just need to implement the calculations in the right order (this is especially true for Civil and Structural engineering). These applications require you to think at an engineering level.

These are what we call design calculations, done by design engineers.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of these applications are mathematically complex. You might need to derive equations, manipulate PDEs, work with quaternions or transformation matrices, or do some programming. These applications require you to think at a mathematical level.

Let’s call the engineers doing this type of work research engineers. Research engineers are often more closely aligned with mathematicians than design engineers.

So we have design engineers and research engineers (and of course we have engineers with feet in both camps, to a varying degree).

Research engineers and design engineers do different mathematical things, and have different mathematical needs. Both groups use Maple, but one size doesn’t always fit well. Either the toe pinches a little, or the shirt is a mite too baggy.

This is where Maple Flow enters stage right.

Maple Flow is a new tool that we’ve built (and are continuing to expand and improve) with the needs of design engineers in mind.

  • The worksheet lets you put math anywhere – just point, click and type
  • The evaluation model is forward-in-space (unlike Maple’s forward in time evaluation model). This means the execution order is explicitly given by the position of the math on the canvas.
  • The worksheet updates automatically, so results are never stale
  • We’ve made several simplifications to massage away some of the complexity of the Maple programming language.
  • You can use nearly all of tools in the Maple programming language.

Here’s how we see people using Maple Flow. They

  • Enter a few major equations somewhere, followed by some parameters scattered around
  • Make the equations “see” the parameters by moving the parameters above the equations
  • Insert any parameters or equations you’ve forgotten, and move them into position, shifting the existing content out of the way to make room
  • Add text, and perhaps an image or plot
  • Finally, align math and format text for a presentable document

I’ve been using Maple Flow for a while now. I like the fact that the nature of Maple Flow means that you don’t have to start with a grand plan, with every computational detail planned out in advance. You’re encouraged to make things up as you go along, and gradually sculpt your calculations into shape.

Basically, Maple Flow doesn’t issue stiff penalties for making mistakes. You fix them, and then move on.

I also like that Maple Flow makes you feel like you’re “touching” your equations, shifting things about easily with either the mouse or the keyboard. There’s a certain tactility and immediacy to Maple Flow that gives me a micro dose of dopamine every time I use it.

Maple Flow’s freeform interface lets you experiment with space, alignment and layout, drawing attention to different groups of equations.

For example, you can design calculation documents that look like this.

You can use nearly all of the Maple programming language in Flow. Here’s a command from the plots package.

Here’s fsolve in action.

The Maple Flow website has more information, including a demo video.

As ever, your feedback is gratefully received.

 

I’ll admit it. There are times when I don't fully understand every mathematical advancement each release of Maple brings. Given the breadth of what Maple does, I guess that isn't surprising.

In development meetings, I make the pretence of keeping up by looking serious, nodding knowingly and occasionally asking to go back to the previous slide “for a minute”. I’ve been doing this since 2008 and no one’s caught on yet.

But I do understand

  • the joy on a user’s (Zoom) face when they finally solve a complex problem with a new version of Maple
  • the smiley emojis that students send us when they understand a tricky math concept with the help of an improved Maple tutor
  • and the wry smile on a developer’s face when they get to work on a project they really want to work on, and the bigger smile when that project gets positive feedback

These are all moments that give me that magic dopamine hit.

The job that Karishma and I have is to make users happy. We don’t have to be top-flight mathematicians, engineers or computer scientists to do that. We just have to know what itch to scratch.

Here’s some things I think might give you that dopamine hit when you get your hands on Maple 2021. You can also explore the new release yourself at What’s New in Maple 2021.

Worksheet mode has been my go-to interface for when I just want to get stuff done. This is mostly because worksheet mode always felt like a more structured environment for developing math when I didn’t have all the steps planned out in advance, and I found that structure helpful. I’d use Document mode when I needed to use the Context Panel for math operations and didn’t want to see the commands, or I needed to create a nice looking document without input carets. And this was fine – each mode has its own strengths and uses – but I what I really wanted was the best of both worlds in a single environment.

This year, we’ve made one change that has let me transition far more of my work into Document mode.

In Document Mode, pressing Enter in a document block (math input) now always moves the cursor to the next math input (in previous releases, the cursor may have moved to the start of the next line of text).

This means you can now quickly update parameters and see the downstream effects with just the Enter key – previously, a key benefit of worksheet mode only.

There’s another small change we’ve made - inserting new math inputs.  In previous releases of Maple, you could only insert new document blocks above the in-focus block using a menu item or a three-key shortcut.

In Maple 2021, if you move the insertion point to the left of a document block (Home position), the cursor is now bold, as illustrated here:

Now, if you press Enter, the in-focus prompt is moved down and a new empty math input is created.

Once you get used to this change, Ctrl+Shift+K seems like a distance memory!

@Scot Gould logged a request that Maple numerically solve a group of differential equations collected together in a vector. And now you can!

Before Maple 2021, this expression was unchanged after evaluation. Now, it is satisfyingly simpler.

We’ve dramatically increased the scope of the signal processing package.             

My favorite addition is the MUSIC function. With some careful tuning, you can generate a pseudo power spectrum at frequencies smaller than one sample.

First generate a noisy data set with three frequencies (two frequencies are closer than one DFT bin).

with(SignalProcessing): 
num_points:= 2^8: 
sample_rate := 100.0:
T := Vector( num_points, k -> 2 * Pi * (k-1) / sample_rate, 'datatype' = 'float[8]' ): 
noisy_signal:=Vector( num_points, k -> 5 * sin( 10.25 * T[k] ) + 3 * sin( 10.40 * T[k] ) - 7 * sin( 20.35 * T[k] )) + LinearAlgebra:-RandomVector(num_points, generator=-10..10):
dataplot(noisy_signal, size = [ 800, 400 ], style = line)

 

Now generate a standard periodogram

Periodogram( noisy_signal, samplerate = sample_rate, size = [800, 400] )

This approach can’t discriminate between the two closely spaced frequencies.

And now the MUSIC pseudo spectrum

MUSIC( noisy_signal, samplerate = sample_rate, dimension = 6, output = plot );

The Maple Quantum Chemistry Toolbox from RDMChem, a separate add-on product to Maple, is a powerful environment for the computation and visualization of the electronic structure of molecules. I don’t pretend to understand most of what it does (more knowing nods are required). But I did get a kick out of its new molecular dictionary. Did you know that caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in the central nervous system (CNS), which inhibits adenosine binding? Want to know more about the antiviral drug remdesivir? Apparently it looks like this:

We put a lot of work into resources for students and educators in this release, including incorporating study guides for Calculus, Precalculus, and Multivariate Calculus, a new student package for ODEs, and the ability to obtain step-by-step solutions to even more problems.  But my favourite thing out of all this work is the new SolvePractice command in the Grading Tools package.  Because it lets you build an application that does this:

I like this for three main reasons:

  1. It lets students practise solving equations in a way that actually helps them figure out what they’ve done wrong, saving them from a spiral of frustration and despair
  2. The same application can be shared via Maple Learn for students to use in that environment if they don’t have Maple
  3. The work we did to create that “new math entry box” can also be used to create other Maple applications with unknown numbers of inputs (see DocumentTools). I’m definitely planning on using this feature in my own applications.

Okay, yes, we know. Up until recently, our LaTeX export has been sadly lacking. It definitely got better last year, but we knew it still wasn’t good enough. This year, it’s good. It’s easy. It works.  And it’s not just me saying this. The feedback we got during the beta period on this feature was overwhelmingly positive.

That’s just the tip of the Maple 2021 iceberg of course. You can find out more at What’s New in Maple 2021.  Enjoy!

 

I’m very pleased to announce that the Maple Calculator app now offers step-by-step solutions. Maple Calculator is a free mobile app that makes it easy to enter, solve, and visualize mathematical problems from algebra, precalculus, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations, right on your phone.  Solution steps have been, by far, the most requested feature from Maple Calculator users, so we are pretty excited about being able to offer this functionality to our customers. With steps, students can use the app not just to check if their own work is correct, but to find the source of the problem if they made a mistake.  They can also use the steps to learn how to approach problems they are unfamiliar with.

Steps are available in Maple Calculator for a wide variety of problems, including solving equations and systems of equations, finding limits, derivatives, and integrals, and performing matrix operations such as finding inverses and eigenvalues.

(*Spoiler alert* You may also want to keep a look-out for more step-by-step solution abilities in the next Maple release.)

If you are unfamiliar with the Maple Calculator app, you can find more information and app store links on the Maple Calculator product page.  One feature in particular to note for Maple and Maple Learn users is that you can use the app to take a picture of your math and load those math expressions into Maple or Maple Learn.  It makes for a fast, accurate method for entering large expressions, so even if you aren’t interested in doing math on your phone, you still might find the app useful.

Maple Learn is out of beta! I am pleased to announce that Maple Learn, our new online environment for teaching and learning math and solving math problems, is out of beta and is now an officially released product. Over 5000 teachers and students used Maple Learn during its public beta period, which was very helpful. Thank you to everyone who took the time to try it out and provide feedback.

We are very excited about Maple Learn, and what it can mean for math education. Educators told us that, while Maple is a great tool for doing, teaching, and learning all sorts of math, some of their students found its very power and breadth overwhelming, especially in the early years of their studies. As a result, we created Maple Learn to be a version of Maple that is specifically focused on the needs of educators and students who are teaching and learning math in high school, two year and community college, and the first two years of university.  

I talked a bit about what this means in a previous post, but probably the best way to get an overview of what this means is to watch our new two minute video:  Introducing Maple Learn.

 

 

Visit Maple Learn for more information and to try it out for yourself.  A basic Maple Learn account is free, and always will be.   If you are an instructor, please note that you may be eligible for a free Maple Learn Premium account. You can apply from the web site. 

There’s lots more we want to do with Maple Learn in the future, of course. Even though the beta period is over, please feel free to continue sending us your feedback and suggestions. We’ve love to hear from you!

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