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Thursday, December 27, 2007

MathTrax : Useful Math Tool for All and especially for Visually Impaired Students

MathTrax allows visually impaired students to “hear” complex math graphs like this in real time [Image courtesy: NASA]

A team at NASA has created a user-friendly software that allows students to graph equations, do physics simulations and interact with the data and understand it all through text, tones and spoken language. The package, named MathTrax, transforms graphs and equations in real-time into sound, so students have multiple ways to process complex information.

Students can hear and read about the graph and actually can hear the music of certain equations. It is great software package for all students but it comes especially useful to students with visual impairments, who, until the launch of MathTrax, did not have such a fascinating tool to help them delve into the beautiful world of mathematics. Blind and low vision users can access visual math data and graph or experiment with equations and datasets using these tools.

At a NASA science camp called “Rocket On”, 9-12 grade students with vision impairments used MathTrax for dealing with rocketry for mission planning, trajectory planning and data analysis. Besides analyzing rocket launches, students can also use MathTrax to do things like study ozone change, illustrate air and sea interactions, study rainfall distribution, forecast ecosystem changes, investigate the nature of black holes, explore the expansion of space, estimate solar activity, model solar wind, compare body adaptations to microgravity, track the effects of space radiation and represent and model scientific information.

For free download of MathTrax, visit NASA MathTrax Webpage.

Monday, December 03, 2007

COMSOL Multiphysics 3.4

Thermal-structural-electromagnetics multiphysics coupling in a microwave circulator. Studies run by Professor Darrell Pepper and his group at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas [photo courtesy: Comsol AB]

Comsol is a leading provider of software solutions for multiphysics modeling mainly for high tech engineering applications. The company was founded in 1986 in Stockholm, Sweden and now has offices in various cities in Europe and USA.

COMSOL Multiphysics (latest version 3.4) is the company's flagship product -- an engineering and scientific software environment for modelling and simulating any physics-based system. Its new multicore processor support, key to version 3.4, speeds up the simulations and improves the accuracy of solutions.

In addition to applying parallel computing throughout the solution process, the newest version introduces new fluid dynamic solver methods for simulating very large problems in chemical engineering, heat transfer, or microfluidics applications. The software also includes a new suite of post-processing tools to compute the geometric properties of objects such as volume, area, center of gravity, and moment of inertia.

Significant enhancements have been noted throughout its suite of discipline-specific modules for such specialized simulations as chemical engineering, RF, reaction engineering, and structural mechanics. The Structural Mechanics Module now lets users predict high- and low-cycle fatigue damage. A suite of COMSOL Script functions calculate fatigue damage from inputs made up of loading data and deterministic, stochastic, or even nonproportional material fatigue data.

It provides fully parallelized meshing for assemblies straight out of the box. A new feature enables users to mesh thermal boundary layers, charged double-layers in AC/DC applications, or viscous boundary layers in fluid-flow applications more efficiently, with greater accuracy, and with less memory consumption than previously possible.

For more details or to receive an introductory CD, visit: www.comsol.com