Wednesday, May 31, 2006

O-Matrix version 6

Harmonic Software have released version 6 of their Matlab-clone software O-Matrix. The new release adds some basic statistics functions and some performance improvements.

The statistics are mostly so basic (random number generation over different distributions, a small number of PDF and CDF functions, descriptors like mean, median, covariance etc) that long time users, have no doubt added them themselves.

The performance improvements are more impressive when compared to the previous version but don't seem out of line with other software on my machine. I have not done a proper comparison, and the comparison provided by Harmonic, rather misleadingly compares this new version to Matlab 7.01 (released in 2004). Either they don't have Matlab 2006a or that gives an unfavorable comparison!

But this is all a distraction from a more fundamental issue- O-Matrix is still fundamentally a numeric-only matrix manipulation system. In the 80's, when the alternative was gluing FORTRAN libraries together, this was a big step forward. But now there are much better simulation languages. Of course the same is true of Matlab. But Mathworks, I think, recognizes this and puts comparatively little effort into Matlab development. Their value is in the toolboxes and Simulink- Matlab is a just a rather dated and mundane component. Harmonic have little extra to add to O-Matrix.

The only Matlab customers they can attract with a faster cheaper version of Matlab, are those that think that the world begins and ends with matrix manipulation.

1 comment:

BeauPaisley said...

As a direct replacement for Matlab we agree that O-Matrix might not functionally add a lot (except better execution performance.) We provide a "Matlab Compatibility" mode, ( primarily as a tool to help new users leverage and migrate legacy Matlab code. The significant strength of the O-Matrix environment is the O-Matrix language which is designed for implementing large, performance demanding applications. Typical O-Matrix applications span dozens of implementation files and 10s of thousands of lines of code. These types of applications have gotten slightly easier in Matlab (and IDL or PVWave for that matter) over the years but that is still not easy.

Beau Paisley, Harmonic Software