A new smartphone and tablet app runs 300 math functions and your own scripts as well
Image: Pomegranate Software
PORTABLE POLYMATH: MathStudio, by Pomegranate Software, is available for Android phones and tablets, Apple iPhone and iPad, and computers running Microsoft Windows at costs that range between US $20 and $30. A free limited-time version of SpaceTime for Windows, made available specifically to IEEE Spectrum readers, can be used to create scripts that will run with MathStudio on smartphones and tablets as well as Windows.
Back in 2009, I began a review of a cute little mobile mathematics program by saying, ”You never know when you’ll be dining out with your friends and have to work out a partial derivative or two.” The program—originally designed for Palm Pilots and Windows Mobile phones—is still as attractive as ever, now running on iPhones and iPads and all manner of Android devices.
MathStudio is an updated version of SpaceTime (see ”The Mobile Polynomial,” IEEE Spectrum, January 2009). With more than 300 numerical and symbolic math functions, programmability, and eye-popping graphics, it’s like having a miniature version of Mathematica, at a miniature price.
Because MathStudio is available for Windows, smartphones, and tablets, you can write scripts on a Windows machine, transfer them to a tablet, and bring complex calculations along with you wherever you go. Spectrum strongly discourages doing higher math while driving, however.
I spent some time with MathStudio on my iPad and found it easy and fun to use. (I did not search for possible errors in its symbolic math, which has a number of difficult cases that have tripped up other math programs in the past.)
MathStudio is a natural for students and for engineers who occasionally need a comprehensive math program but don’t need the full horsepower and daunting complexity of Mathematica or Maple. It’s a huge leap from the usual calculator program for tablets and smartphones. And the price is right.
This article was updated on 26 January 2012.
About the Author
Kenneth R. Foster, an IEEE Fellow, is professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania and a longtime software reviewer for IEEE Spectrum. He recently reviewed Maple 15 and Mathematica 8.