Thursday, March 16, 2006

Maplesoft goes for Control with Blockbuilder

Back in February, I speculated over the contents of the rumoured plans for the Maple Blockbuilder for Simulink. The product is now out, and it looks like that analysis wasn't far off the mark.

The product appears to be an S Function extension to the code generator but also contains some control theory functions like transfer functions, state space and zero pole gain models etc, apparently like the Wolfram Research application Control System Professional 2. Whether these functions have similar range or depth is impossible to tell, as no documentation or serious examples are provided.

What is most interesting though is not the product, but the change to the company's presentation of itself that the release has triggered. What other company has someone else's product name (Simulink) larger than its own principle product on the front page of its website?
[Update March 22: Within six days, the page has been re-designed again, to return Maple to a prominant position, so I was probably not the only person to think this odd!]

There have been a couple of other small products for control engineering coming out of Maplesoft - ICP for system identification, Dynaflex for rigid body control. These had seemed rather fringe to a company that makes its money out of teaching calculus to students. Now with this web redesign, where they have been elevated to the front page and grouped together, I am starting to suspect that Maplesoft is trying to reposition itself as a provider of addons to Simulink and Matlab.

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