Tom 4

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18 years, 216 days

My title is Chief Evangelist for Maplesoft. I interpret that as “the guy who’s been around forever”. I started my professional Maplesoft career in 1989 as a contractor trying to earn money to feed my grad student habits, like eating and visiting my parents. Before that I was introduced to what was then referred to as the Maple programming language and to my surprise, Maple immediately helped me figure things out in my courses and more importantly it made me look smarter in front of potential grad supervisors. That’s how the love affair began.

Since then I’ve held various senior positions including Vice President of Marketing and Market Development. I’ve witnessed the transformation of this company from a start-up doing something strange called “computer algebra” to a well-recognized, leading solutions company with a growing and ever diversifying user community. I’m even more thrilled at the fact that so much of our new achievements are in the world of engineering modeling and simulation which was my specialization in University.

I did my degrees at the University of Waterloo. My Bachelor and Master’s degrees were in Systems Design Engineering and my PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in surface modeling for CAD systems. Along the way, I dabbled in control systems, physical systems modeling, and computer-assisted education. I still stay connected to the academic world through my position as Adjunct Professor in Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, and as a member of the Board of Governors, Renison College affiliated with the University of Waterloo.

I was born in Seoul South Korea but raised in Toronto, Canada. I moved to Waterloo, Canada to attend university and never left. I tell the Maplesoft people that it’s because of the company but it’s because I met my wonderful wife Dr. Sharon here :-)

MaplePrimes Activity

These are replies submitted by Tom 4

Hello Franky, This is a good suggestion and worth considering. Will, our Webmaster has a selection of things that have higher priority. If there is a very "clean" solution that is easily available from the system we use for this site, then it'll be available sooner. Needless to say if it's there is no built in functionality, it'll take more time. Thanks for the suggestion. T4.
that has got to be the finest piece of entertainment that I've seen in years ... T.
There seems to be a defined genre of rock music called "math rock". From what I can gather it's an unholy mix of complex almost jazz-like instrumentals with much more contemporary punk/grunge elements ... see Wikepedia definition or here for samples. T4.
I think it's helpful to recall the goals of this site (About MaplePrimes). We've always had the romantic vision of this site blossoming into a wide range of content and information being generated by a broad cross-section of the user base. The forums and the "How to?" portions wer an important part of this vision, but a part nonetheless. So initially, we did not assign permanent Maplesoft staff to monitor and answer questions. Instead we counted on some well known characters (e.g. Alec, Joe, Steve, Thomas, Roman, to name a few ... and forgive me if I've omitted other active users in this list) to assist us. Ultimately, I think this is still the right answer as I think you'll get more expert information on some topics (believe it or not, we don't know everything about every application area here in Maplesoft land) and ironically, more timely information. Our corporate policy is nominal 24 hour response time, maximum 3 days. Depending on time of day and what time people sleep around the world, I've noticed that our performance on MaplePrimes either rivals or exceeds our own corporate performance. Not entirely a bad thing as I believe even a working process like our corporate tech support process could use a competition :-) I also look forward to the day when you become a prolific MaplePrimes advisor and offer your experiences to help more Newbies! Tom 4.
In addition to the material included in the help system, you can also find lots of stuff in the Maple Application Center archives. Also, the Maple Student Center is a collection of the best stuff from the Application Center that's more suited for students. Finally, Maplesoft has recently introduced a small set of instructional videos , with a primary focus on the new interactive features of Maple 10. They are a nice, easy-to-digest introduction to equation editing, simple plotting, etc. If you have something more specific in mind, let me know ... Tom 4.
Hi, Just curious ... is it working now? It's not clear from your post. If it's still not working, I'll have to go and knock on Kevin's door again ... T4.
Hi, Just curious ... is it working now? It's not clear from your post. If it's still not working, I'll have to go and knock on Kevin's door again ... T4.
FYI, Maplesoft no longer offers a freely downloadable trial version. Depending on circumstances, they will allow for a limited-time "evaluation". This requires an application process directly with either a Maplesoft representative or a representative from one of its distributors. If you are interested, you can contact Maplesoft via T4.
Technically, one is not allowed to claim competitor's names for their own searches. This is an issue that we have looked at before and have generally chosen to take the "high" road. Tom 4.
Your concerns are serious. As you note, Maplesoft staff have indicated our goal of maintaining "backward compatibility". I'm not sure what was exactly said at MSW 2002 but in general, backward compatibility is policy and a goal ... but is not a guarantee. Maple is sufficiently complex that sometimes things break. And we try our best to fix them. At this point, I would like to pause as the person who really should be making this statement on behalf of the company is currently on vacation and will not be back until Monday. I did want to post some response to show that we take these issues seriously. I hope that we can work with you fix the problems and perhaps we can transform this thread to a positive conclusion. I appreciate your patience. Tom Lee (this time not as Tom 4 but on behalf of Maplesoft)
It's true that a travel guide does not jump into one's mind when one thinks of a Maple site. There are two principal reasons why I chose this: 1) as we are entering some new territory for us. The notion of collaborative content (wiki or non-wiki) is still a bit of an art -- though, as you point out, more and more successful sites are emerging. A "fun" context would be something that helps us work out some of the technology and infrastructural side and is very consistent with the spirit of the beta. The theory is that this experience will identify challenges and allow us to work out solutions prior to something more ambitious. And there will definitely be focused Maple Wiki's. 2) from the beginning, we had envisioned this site as more than Maple Q&A (though admittedly, this will be the thing that draws people to the site). My thinking goes along the line of "if we had the attention of hundreds of people skilled in Maple, math, and computers, what could we build?". This is the flipside of the Primes question, "how do we get better information out to our users?". To tell you the truth, IMHO, 2) is in no way frivolous or meaningless. Anyone who has travelled knows the great pleasure in discovering out of the way places that has real meaning for them ... and for many of us in the Primes community, real meaning is often derived from math and science. If I had known that Goettingen was a center for German math history, I would have instantly put it on my itinirary on my vacation 2 years ago. Reality is, this type of info just doesn't exist anywhere in a convenient form ... but it is something that is enriching though it may have very little relevance to effective use of Maple. If not here, then where? If not us, then whom? Thanks for your comments and concern about the focus of the site. Tom 4.
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Can you give us a specific example? Thanks. Tom 4.
Thanks again for this thread Tim ... some of you may have noticed that I have relatively little to offer in response to the very technical discussions here ... reality is there are plenty of Primers who have greater depth and experiences to help. So "soft" topics like this helps me keep engaged and offers a nice diversity within the content. I think I differ from most here in that I don't actually do math but I do operate in a mathematical context. My background is solidly engineering, which in certain circles, would allow me to do some math but for me, my academic background and my professional life have remained blissfully separate. During the first couple of years of university, math courses were a write-off. Didn't enjoy them. Didn't do well. When I started taking more advanced, modeling-oriented courses (control, FEM, PDE, simulation, etc.) things just started to make more sense ... so much so that when that interest intersected with the then, "novel" technology called Maple, I was able to further independently explore these topics ... math became anything from "tolerable" to "interesting" to "cool". This then lead to grad school during which the company and I met and I began doing demos, applications, and in general, helping to guide the company on "How to present Maple to Engineers" ... yada yada yada ... I'm still doing this today and I am now surrounded by a building full of proper mathematicians. No, I'm not a mathematician but I can fake it for cocktail parties ... "What's purple and commutes...?" T4.
We will be introducing non-maplesoft moderators shortly. Currently, the most active moderators are those who are actually building/fixing the site and for a little while longer, we'll need to keep this short distance until things stabilize sufficiently. In the mean time, the Maplesoft moderators will try to behave as much like independents as much as possible. With respect to Wiki, I think the only real issue is the technology that maintains the wiki's and decision on what are we actually going to wiki. I suspect, we may be able to get something in place in a matter of a couple of weeks as opposed to way way off into the future. T4.
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