Mathematica updated to version 4.2

Wolfram Research has released Mathematica 4.2, an update with a "host of new packages, XML functionality and Java connectivity," according to company representative, Ben Wilson.

Now users can access any Java program from within Mathematica and work directly with XML data and documents. Version 4.2 also brings enhancements in linear programming, statistics, optimization, combinatorics, graph theory and technical publishing.

Mathematica is one of the five biggest scientific offerings for computers for the sciences. It's widely used by engineers, scientists and researchers to perform a wide range of technical computing tasks. Mathematica provides an integrated environment for numeric and symbolic calculation, visualization and programming.

Mathematica 4.2 sports a transparent Java integration with J/Link 2.0 and built-in Java Runtime Engine, XML extensions that let Mathematica notebooks and expressions to be stored as XML, new bundled XML tools package for symbolic XML manipulation and support for XHTML export including style sheets. The update extends MathML 2.0 support and improves linear programming and optimization, Wilson said.

Statistics enhancements include a new ANOVA package. There's a new bundled Combinatorica package for combinatorics and graph theory and a new bundled AuthorTools package for technical publishing. Mathematica 4.2 offers a slide show environment for presentations and new import and export formats including FITS and SDTS.

Version 4.2 also marks the beginning of the XML era at Wolfram Research by offering support for import, export and symbolic manipulation of XML documents and data, according to Lars Hohmuth, Mathematica product manager. In conjunction with a major focus on technical publishing in this version, Mathematica now includes XML extensions that let you save notebooks and Mathematica expressions as XML constructs and adds support for XHTML and MathML 2.0, the emerging standard for mathematics on the Web. What's more, Mathematica 4.2 also includes a new AuthorTools package and a slide show environment designed to make preparing notebooks for presentations and online and print publication easier.

Mathematica 4.2 is available for the traditional Mac operating system and Mac OS X, as well as other operating systems. The suggested commercial price is US$1,880 and includes one year of full service. Academic and volume discounts are available. It's now shipping in the US and Canada, and will be available in all other territories except Japan starting July 8. Mathematica 4.2 Japanese Edition is due in early fall. More product details are available at the product Web site.

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