[sci.math.symbolic] Mac and Mathematica: Is an SE/30 enough?

mcguffey@muvms3.bitnet (Michael McGuffey) (08/10/90)

I've been configuring a lab for the Mathematics department for teaching
calculus, algebra, statistics, etc, with computers.

Presently the lab consists of 20 Mac SE/30's and 2 Mac IIci's connected 
via localtalk to a Laserwriter IINTX.  All machines will have 4MB of ram
and 80MB hard disks.  The Mac IIci's will have color monitors using the 
onboard video hardware.

We've chosen Mathematica, SAS's JMP, and MS Word for software.

Does anyone have familiarity with labs of similar set-up?  I'm particu-
larly interested in the use of Mathematica on the SE/30's.  I've only 
used it on a full-blown Mac IIci (8MB ram and color video card), but it
performed admirably. 

Is the SE/30 enough of a machine?  Does it need 5 MB or 8 MB to run well?
I'll probably put an extra 4 MB in the IIci's to compensate for using on-
board video, but I'd prefer not having to do that on the SE/30's.

Thanks for any help.

-- michael
Michael McGuffey, Director	  BITNET:   mcguffey@muvms3
Office of Institutional Research  Internet: mcguffey@marshall.wvnet.edu
Marshall University		  Phone:    304/696-3212
Huntington, WV 25755		  FAX:      304/696-3601

smithw@hamblin.byu.edu (William V. Smith) (08/11/90)

We gave up trying to do much with Mathematica on Macs.  It is simply
to much of a memory hog.  We installed some NeXTs instead.  Seems to
work fine there.

ags@seaman.cc.purdue.edu (Dave Seaman) (08/11/90)

In article <SMITHW.90Aug10121857@hamblin.hamblin.byu.edu> smithw@hamblin.byu.edu (William V. Smith) writes:
>We gave up trying to do much with Mathematica on Macs.  It is simply
>to much of a memory hog.  We installed some NeXTs instead.  Seems to
>work fine there.

I find that quite a bit can be done on a 68020 Mac II, running Mathematica in a
5 Mb or larger Multifinder partition.  It is noticeably slower than a NeXT, 
but I'm sure an SE/30 would help considerably.  The main problem is that you
have to be prepared to restart the program occasionally on a Mac, because
Mathematica is only moderately successful at reclaiming unused memory.  

Dave Seaman	  					

xinwei@jessica.stanford.edu (Xin Wei Sha) (08/15/90)

One good model is to distribute Mathematica across a local network:
Run the Front End on a Mac and the remote kernel on a Sun (or NeXT).
I've tested out various combinations of Macs (II, IIci, cx, fx), with
kernel on Suns (3 & 4 Sparcstation), and NeXTs.  You have the advantage of
an integrated symbolic/graphic notebook interface (which can run in a fixed
memory of 2-3 meg), coupled to a kernel running on a fast machine with
virtual memory.  There ought to be $ savings as well.  We'd like to negotiate
with WRI for a "distributed" license: either many copies of Mathematica
on Macs (perhaps Suns), or multiple Front Ends off of a few Kernels
on some compute servers on the university ethernet.

By the way, on a MacIIfx, compute+graphics timings are comparable to
the NeXT, because, though the NeXT still beats the fx in the
symbol crunching by roughly 9:7, postscript to screen speed is much faster
on the Mac.

Xin Wei