Matlab news from WWDC

One of the biggest issues discussed at MacResearch.org is the state of affairs of MathWorks MATLAB on the new intel macs. Luckily, during our time here at WWDC we stumbled upon a MathWorks representative who gave us some exciting news.

Apparently, MathWorks is acutely aware of the effects of the Java/Rosetta/Intel problems people are experiencing (we weren't surprised about that). It sounds like MathWorks will have a new version of Matlab coming out in the near future that will address our concerns. If I heard him right, the MATLAB we'll be using this fall will be native, that's right.

The biggest issue involving creating a native MATLAB for Intel Mac's is the large number of third party toolboxes, libraries, etc that MATLAB supports. The MathWorks representative mentioned that any feedback regarding prioritization of toolbox ports is welcome. Post a comment to this article and tell us what toolboxes you need immediately, and which ones you can wait And we will compile a list with stats and send the information onto the MathWorks developer relations group.

This is great news, thanks MathWorks!

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X11?

Will be still be forced to use Matlab in X11? Or will there be an Aqua interface port?

Please give me COMSOL and

Please give me COMSOL and MATLAB native, and I will be able to justify the buy of a MacBook Pro to my better half.

Ben

Toolbox priorities

Great news!

In order of importance, the toolboxes that the research group I'm in uses:
1. Statistics toolbox
2. Matlab compiler toolbox
3. Optimization toolbox
4. Signal processing toolbox
5. Psychophysics toolbox (I know this one isn't MathWorks' responsibility, but there are a lot of people who depend on it in the psychology and neuroscience fields so any help MathWorks provided would be greatly appreciated, I'm sure)

We also have a lot of C/C++ mex files. I assume being able to compile mex files for the Intel-native version won't be a problem, but if there's any trickery that the Matlab run-time uses to load Mex files, that port should be added to the list above.

Matlab's desktop is Java

For the last couple of point releases, the Matlab desktop has been entirely Java-based. Because Java on the MacOS is rendered through the Quartz drawing layer, it is 'native' (1). I think what you (and many of us, I'm sure) would like is for the Desktop to make use of Aqua-specific interface guidelines and features. This would make the UI feel (in fact it would be) a native Mac program instead of a universal Java interface that behaves like the Windows UI. I wouldn't expect MathWorks to go down this route. It would be substantial work for no (they claim) return and would require maintaining separate UI layers for different platforms. That said, I don't think there's any reason a 3rd party couldn't create an Aqua UI for Matlab, using either process pipes or the Matlab C interface to make calls back and forth to Matlab.

(1) There was some discussion on both Apple's Xgrid list and on the MathWorks forums about X11 dependence. It turns out the Matlab binary is still statically linked with X11, even on OS X. Even though X11 isn't needed to render the interface it is still required to start Matlab. Doh.

I'll second...

Yes, the psychophysics toolbox is essential for me. After that the Data Acquisition Toolbox really, really, REALLY needs to be made available for OSX. The statistics toolbox would be nice, but for the kinds of analyses I do, it's woefully inadequate for all but the most basic tasks.

R2006b?

Does this refer to the 2006b release?

Toolbox

Sounds good!

Nearly all my work is done using the "Control Systems Toolbox". Without this, my needs for MATLAB would be somewhat limited...

Regards, Søren

These comments are largely

These comments are largely why I've given up on MATLAB altogether. If Maple and Mathematica are already at Aqua-like Univ Bin, why can't Mathworks get their act together?

Maple Java, Mathematica Native

I haven't used MATLAB recently, but Maple is Java (and Aqua-like) and Mathematica is and always has been native. (FWIW, the Mathematica interface needs to leave the 1980s, however.)

Matlab priorities

These are great news indeed. As a matlab-user who considers the transition from Windows/Linux to Mac/Intel, the availability of a Mac/Intel Matlab version is a deciding factor for me.

As for the porting priorities, I think that the Mathworks should concentrate, apart from the core toolboxes, on a (relatively) bug-free compiler/mex toolbox. With a functioning Mac/Intel compiler suite third-party developers would be able to port their products to the Mac/Intel environment by themselves.

toolboxes and interface

The priorities for me working in psychophysics and neuroscience are
1) Signal processing toolbox;
2) Statistics
3) compiler
4) image processing

It will also be great if they can knock up a Mac version of Daq toolbox.

RE discussons about the interface, having to launch X11 before Matlab is silly and a nusance but not too bad. I do hope they will fix up the cut and paste - instead of the large TIFF output, use something smaller like PDF/PS. Windows Matlab handle this better.

When I first switched to a Mac, I was aghast that for a supposedly multimedia powerhouse OS, there is no cut and paste in Matlab under OSX!

/j

Toolboxes

For my colleagues and I working in biophysics, the most important toolboxes are the image processing toolbox and the statistics toolbox, in decreasing priority.

Requirements for native intel matlab

- 64 bit version of matlab (for manipulating very large matrices)
- Statistical toolbox
- Signal processing toolbox
- Neural networks toolbox

Toolboxes

(1) signal processing
(2) Statistics
and both with high priority.

I was planning to set up a small cluster of Mac's running the distributed computing toolbox and engine. I wonder if that will be possible.

64 bit version of MATLAB

Issues with Apple's Xcode 2.4 64-bit tool chain, and lack of availability of Apple and third party libaries above the BSD layer in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (including Carbon, Cocoa, OpenGL, and Java), inhibits the MathWorks from developing a PowerPC-based 64-bit solution at this time. Wolfram's Mathematica has been able to work around this limitation by employing an existing well-factored 64-bit Unix engine that contains no dependencies on its 32-bit Cocoa application interface, or on any other frameworks or libraries that are currently unavailable in 64-bit on Tiger.

With Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, we are anticipating that all of the frameworks and libraries we require, and all of the issues with Apple's Xcode 3.0 64-bit tool chain will be resolved, which will enable us to develop a 64-bit solution for Macintosh customers. We anticipate advantages in keeping everything 64-bit on Mac OS X 10.5, as we have found with MATLAB Windows XP and Linux 64-bit support. However, Apple may not be able to provide a 64-bit Java for PowerPC, which could limit our ability to provide a 64-bit solution on PowerPC-based Macs running 10.5 Leopard.

The MATLAB Intel Mac beta

MATLAB for Intel-based Mac beta is based on R2006b, but Intel-based Mac support won't be included as part of the R2006b release itself, it will be separately available soon after the R2006b release. The MathWorks releases a new platform beta in this way in order to fully isolate problems related to the platform introduction from scheduled releases, and also to keep the regular releases on schedule. I don't have the details of the beta program, but details will be made available soon.

MATLAB with X11

For the time being, MATLAB still requires X11 because Simulink and certain Toolboxes still require X11. However, MATLAB's Desktop and Figure windows use Java with an Aqua interface. We are investigating deprecating and eliminating the remaining X11 dependencies for a future release.

Acting together

I hear you, I would like to see MATLAB's entire product line conform to Aqua some day.

Mathematica's interface was originally developed using Cocoa's predecessor, and Maple's is written as a standalone Java application. MATLAB is a Unix executable that presents its interface using Java with an Aqua appearance by loading the Java JVM, but some products such as Simulink still require, and use X11-based interfaces. MATLAB, Simulink and 80+ derived Toolboxes and Blocksets are in aggregate significantly larger in code size and customer volume than the two symbolic math products you mentioned, and have a heavy dependency on open-source and commercial third party libraries, which turns porting away from flipping a switch and towards the logistics of flipping many, many swiches and integrating them.

For example, MATLAB Symbolic Toolbox uses the Maple engine, provided by a third party, MapleSoft. So, by extension, MATLAB's introduction of native Intel-based Mac support will lag other mathematical software packages such as Maple.

Great news! Thanks for

Great news! Thanks for letting us know about the upcoming beta.

Mac/Intel MATLAB beta

Thank you very much -- these are indeed good news for those considering switching over to Mac.

Great news

Windows MATLAB runs surprisingly well in Parallels, but a native Intel Mac version would obviously be preferable. I eagerly await additional details about the beta.

So that means 2006b edition is intel native?

I hope that means MATLAB version 2006b supports intel natively. I have been wanting to upgrade my G4 powerbook to the intel core-duo version but without native matlab I've been waiting... seems like MATLAB's intel support is coming in a perfect timing when apple is going to use a newer intel chip Merom for the newer MacBook Pro this fall.

Toolboxes

same here:

(1) signal processing

OpenGL rendering in MacOS hasn't been efficient enough compared to the PC version. I hope the newer release has some improvements on that aspect.

Toolboxes

I would vote for the following toolboxes (in order of priority):

Statistics
Compiler
Signal

Will we be able to create universal binaries with the Compiler?

Shih-Cheng Yen

PDE toolbox

The PDE tool box is my sole request

Toolbox Priorities

My order of preference for Intel-native toolboxes would be:

1) Statistics
2) Databases
3) Neural Networks
4) Compiler

How did you do that?

How did you do that?

I wanted to convert my lab's machines to mac. After reading a lot of posts on the web about parallels/xp/matlab combo working very well, I purchased a macbook (2GH topped with 2GB) as a testing machine and installed the combo. To my surprise, as soon as matlab launches on xp under paralles, both osx and xp become so sluggish that I can't even move the mouse pointer freely on both os.

Do I miss something or are there any hidden tricks that I am not aware of to make the combo work surprisingly well?

I am sorry that I forgot to

I am sorry that I forgot to login before posting the above ...

I use the statistics and

I use the statistics and neural networks toolboxes. The toolboxes are the main reason i dont switch to SciLab or similar.

Hello, Curve Fitting

I would like the
1)Curve Fitting Toolbox
2)Statistics
3)Optimization
4)Image Toolbox
5)Compiler

Hi I need Simulink.

Hi

I need Simulink.

Thanks

Matlab toolbox priorities

I and my group make substantial, daily use of the following toolboxes

Signal Processing
System Identification
Statistics
Compiler

R exists!

Why don't you use the software R for statistics and many other things??

It works very good and is free...

http://zoonek2.free.fr/UNIX/48_R/all.html

Regards,

Available as an upgrade for students?

What I would be very interested in is for Mathworks to provide an upgrade version for students. I've recently (as in 2 - 3 weeks ago) purchased a Student Version of Matlab because my old version 7 (bought in 2004) was no longer supported and I couldn't get the neural network toolbox and the only way of getting that toolbox was to purchase the latest version, which is just version 7 SP 3 (thus I'm essentially paying for a service pack! Even Apple doesn't do that ...) and then purchase the neural network toolbox for it.

Would Matlab be kinder to students and release the universal binary as a free upgrade to students? Even a nominal fee would be good, and please make it applicable to the toolboxes too, as I can't afford to keep buying new student versions for what is essentially bug fixes.

64 bit version of the matlab kernel

I understand the problem with 64-bit java, which, as far as I understand, is mostly (or only?) involded in the GUI, but in Leopard (both the G5 and intel versions if matlab goes universal), can't the matlab "kernel" or core itself be compiled as a 64-bit unix application and the results displayed in the java interface and the X11 graphics windows?

64 bit version, Java, X11 and Leopard

A growing number of toolboxes and features depend on Java even without the Java desktop, for example, MATLAB Distributed Computing Toolbox.

MATLAB is currently not designed in such a way that its kernel can run in one process and its UI in another, but it's something we should be looking at.

matlab -nojvm

What I meant by the "matlab kernel" was what was also termed as the "matlab unix application" somewhere in this thread or in another one. I thought that when launching matlab by typing "matlab -nojvm" in a terminal window, only this unix app would run without resorting to any java virtual machine.

I also thought that leopard would be 64 bit from the ground up, as they seemed to say on apple's Leopard preview webpage, including java. But this doesn't seem to be true.