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Android Math Science

Octave and Gnuplot Coming To Android 84

New submitter MathIsTasty writes "Recently, it was announced on the Octave-maintainers list that a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to bring Matlab style numerical computations and graphing to Android via a 'more than' port of Octave and gnuplot. While I doubt it will be as successful as some recent games on Kickstarter, is this a reasonable way to fund free software development? Now, we just have to worry about people working on simulating solar irradiation while driving. Here is a good blog post about the project."
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Octave and Gnuplot Coming To Android

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  • So my Droid will look like Texas Instruments calculator? Awesome

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @04:20AM (#40014069)

    I have been a long time Matlab, but have always been frustrated with licensing issues etc.
    So I have tried replacing Matlab with Octave and SciLab a couple of times, but they both feels more cumbersome to use.
    About a year ago, I tried Python with the modules Numpy and SciPy, and it just completely smokes the competitors. It is much more enjoyable to work with, so people should really give it a go, it if hard work to get used to something new, but with Python, you will not be disappointed. You can get some nice inspiration of what is possible in the 3rd party documentation SciPy-Lectures:

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > but they both feels more cumbersome to use.

      What exactly is more cumbersome to use on Octave (compared to Matlab) what isnt cumbersome in SciPy (compared to Matlab)?

      • Matlab > Octave: integrated editor with debugger and profiler; full compatibility with zillions of Matlab third-party libraries; faster.
        Matlab < Octave: price and licensing; libreadline
        Matlab > Python: lots of syntactic sugar (array slicing, matrix concatenation, 1-based indexing (if you are a mathematician that's the standard) --- in general, matrix stuff is much shorter to write in Matlab); hassle-free BLAS/LAPACK integration
        Matlab < Python: price and licensing; Python is a real programmin
        • by gpig ( 244284 )

          Mostly agree, but NumPy arrays do have slicing (however much you may not like zero-indexed, exclusive-on-the-right indexing):

          In [8]: a = np.array([[1,2,3],[4,5,6],[7,8,9]])

          In [9]: a[0,:]
          Out[9]: array([1, 2, 3])

          In [10]: a[0:2,:]
          array([[1, 2, 3],
          [4, 5, 6]])

          In [11]: a[0:2,0:2]
          array([[1, 2],
          [4, 5]])

    • by deego ( 587575 )

      As a happy 15+year plus octave user, let me say that a lot of that is a matter of what you are familiar with. I find matlab's 'integrated editor' and lack of *nix readline facilities absolutely unbearable, for example.

      This 'cumbersome' is not too unlike the situation that a windows user will claim GNU/linux is cumbersome to use, whereas I find windows unbearable. Basically, a matter of familiarity; blaming octave for that is unfair, IMO.


      • I've tried several times to migrate to Octave, but it's still just not good enough of a "MATLAB-clone" to really replace MATLAB for my purposes. I run MATLAB through EMACS matlab-mode, so I don't care about the editor or GUI.

        What keeps me away from Octave is:
        1) MATLAB is much faster at solving most problems.
        2) Much of the capability available in Mathworks supported toolboxes is missing from Octave.
        3) Handle graphics capabilities are now available in Octave, but lag far behind MATLAB. I don't write MATLAB

        • by pnot ( 96038 )

          However, in most engineering R&D environments, MATLAB support is important for collaboration, and here is where Octave could be useful were it more comparable to MATLAB.

          Have you tried the recent-ish 3.6 release? I gather that it's made major improvements in Matlab compatibility. I'm interested because I'm going to be working on some Matlab stuff soon, and am wondering whether I could get away with porting it to Octave.

        • by rdnetto ( 955205 )

          1) MATLAB is much faster at solving most problems.

          This is a pretty major issue of your working with non-trivial amounts of data (e.g. image processing). One of the main reasons for this is that the current version of Octave is only single-threaded; it can't take advantage of the extra cores that even modern phones have. Apparently multi-threading can be enabled by recompiling it, but that's a fairly large demand for the average user...

  • To get your kickstarter project slashvertised? Is this ethical?

    • No comment on that, but this Kickstarter is quite interesting service. It seems to have been around for years, but has really got some wind lately.
    • I am the developer. It costs $0. I suggested backers write slashdot about the project informing slashdot. Slashdot liked one of their submissions and ran with it. I don't understand why this would be unethical. All companies make press releases. This is kind of the same, but it was written by a backer/customer not even the developer.
  • by asnelt ( 1837090 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @04:26AM (#40014087) Homepage
    There is already Addi: []
    • by asnelt ( 1837090 )
      Oh, well. It's actually the same. Never mind...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by anomaly256 ( 1243020 )
      Been using octave and gnuplot on my droid3 for a while now. yay for debian chroot and a native X server now
    • Yes, I am the developer, and Addi is not a complete thought. I want to make it SO much better...hence the kickstarter campaign. Corbin
    • True, and it's written by the same guy, Corbin Champion. Addi is a subset of matlab (or octave) written in Java.
      • Addi now has the octave interpreter built in (missing some stuff and needs more testing, but basically there). You enable it by going to Settings->Preferences->Enable experiment interpreter. This is the work (along with gnuplot) that I want to finish, so it will be much more useful to others.
  • R ( is my elixir

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm teaching hi school math (in Denmark), and I hate forcing (or trying to force) my students into buying TI calculators at monopoly prices.

    What's the best calc for android that would do the following:
    * Enter mathematical expressions (showing the full expression) and evaluating them
    * Making scatterplots
    * Plotting graphs, and fitting functions to data points (linear, power law and exponential required)
    * Preferably plotting histograms, sum curves etc.
    Best if the program is free, without too many frills, and a

    • MathScript is pretty damn good [] don't know if it can do everything you list, but it can do a lot (and theoretically you could program anything you want in python). There's also a free trial version which has all the features (I think), but nags after a while []
    • I didn't need a graphing calculator until university, and even then we could have gotten by without it. We had no problems graphing things by hand. If you absolutely have a need for students to do more complicated plotting, then take them to one of the school computer labs.
      • This is funny. Here in Norway, we all had to get graphing calculators in high school, but in university we're not allowed anything more advanced than a scientific calculator (+-*/, sine, cosine, etc.). Graphing and programmable calculators are expressly banned. As a consequence, I can freehand draw most functions you'll ever need.
        • Well then, it doesn't seem like high school is preparing you that well for university. The best high school math class I ever did was grade 10. Because the teacher said no calculators. I became really good at doing math in my head that year.
          • Agreed, they don't prepare us very well. On the plus side, though, I learned to program on my graphic calculator, (Casio
            FTW!) in a weird cross-breed of apl and basic.
            GOTO FTW.
    • This app, by Fall (if funded) will probably be your best answer. It will do all of what you ask but, user friendliness will be improved over the following year, along with features you don't need. For basic math, Octave language is completely straight forward.
  • by Kludge ( 13653 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @06:18AM (#40014483)

    Now, we just have to worry about people working on simulating solar irradiation while driving.

    Been there. I have an N900 that runs R, numpy, matplotlib. Handy for computing when I can't sit on the bus or subway.

  • Though I very rarely use Octave, Gnuplot is one of my favorite tools, I like it a lot, it is very powerful. This a very good decision to port them on Android, because associated with ADK it can enable easy custom applications for data acquisition and analysis on the field.
  • I just backed this project after reading this article. It would help if Slashdot editors can regularly promote crowdfunded Open-source projects as a feature, or type of article.

    Personally, I'd love to hear about other open-source projects when they make it to Kickstarter.

    • Appreciated. Didn't quite get the slashdot bounce that sometimes can be seen. People are pretty hung up on paying for the development of free software. People also seem hung up on the fact that you can use Octave on other types of devices, which doesn't really help the larger audience out.
  • Gnuplot saved my ass back in the mid 90's when I was a lab assistant. I had a remote fast machine that ran my code for analysis, but no real way to quickly get the hundreds of time lapsed graphs. Then I found Gnuplot and presto. The job was done. A plotter(real old fashioned kind) hooked to my slow Mac and the world was a good place. Certainly any smart phone is faster than a 1990 Mac, and I can imagine beng in the field needing to do a quick plot.
  • As a mathematician and hobbyist iOS developer, it really sucks that so much great mathematics software is GPLed. You can't port Octave, for example, to the iPad as its license is incompatible with Apples terms. I'd love to see this kind of stuff on my iPad. I'd even write it myself! But nope... A few great non-GPLed mathematics packages that have made their way into the iOS ecosystem. There's a Reduce implementation, for example, that looks really nice.

    And while I'm rambling (sorry), LaTeX on mobile is just

    • by pnot ( 96038 )

      As a mathematician and hobbyist iOS developer, it really sucks that so much great mathematics software is GPLed. You can't port Octave, for example, to the iPad as its license is incompatible with Apples terms.

      ... or, to look at it from a slightly different viewpoint, it really sucks that Apple have chosen to make their terms incompatible with the GPL.

  • I have a day job and a long meeting this morning, but I will be a good sport and try to answer any questions, concerns, etc later. I have a good sense of humor, so I can handle jokes and flames too. So, fire away! Corbin Champion
    • by X43B ( 577258 )

      Thank you for doing this.

      Are there any plans to enable access to the sensors on the phone through Ocatave scripts run on the phone?

      • Yes there are. That is not the initial thrust of this campaign, but yet, I have thought of it and will work on it (hopefully with others) once promised functionality is provided.
  • N900? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Evil Pete ( 73279 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @02:12PM (#40019531) Homepage

    Wait, what? I had gnuplot and octave on my N900. Two years ago. Gees, bit slow there android.

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