John May

Dr. John May

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15 years, 276 days
Pasadena, California, United States

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I have been a part of the Mathematical Software Group at Maplesoft since 2007. I have a Ph.D in Mathematics from North Carolina State University as well as Masters and Bachelors degrees from the University of Oregon. I have been working on research in computational mathematics since 1997. I currently work on symbolic solvers and visualization as well as other subsystems of Maple.

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If you've seen Paulina's announcement then you know that we are once again holding a virtual Maple Conference this year.  As well, we are once again going to have a virtual gallery featuring artwork and creative projects submitted by the Maple community!

Last year we had a number of great submissions to our Maple Art Gallery and our Maple Learn Creative Showcase.  These were our excellent prize winners.

From left to right we have A visualization of all the primitive roots of 10037 created by Simon Plouffe, winner of the Judge’s Choice, Mother’s Day Rose created with Maple plots by Greg Wheaton, winner of the People’s Choice, and Mona Lisa in Maple Learn created by Paul DeMarco (with help from Leonardo DaVinci), the winner of the People’s Choice for the Maple Learn Showcase.

This year we are expanding the Gallery into two collections to encourage more people to submit.  They are

  • The Art Gallery - A small gallery to highlight high effort, mathematically interesting works (with stricter criteria)

  • The Creative Works Showcase - A larger showcase for nearly any interesting visual works created with Maplesoft products like Maple Learn and Maple

Feel free to submit nearly anything cool for the Creative Works Showcase, if we find it particularly impressive we might even ask you to let us consider it for the gallery.  Also, do not be intimidated by the title "Art Gallery" we're looking for anything that has taken some artistic effort and tells a mathematical story.

For more information on critera and how to submit, please visit our Call for Creative Works.  The important deadline to know is the September 14th deadline for submission of works with virtual gallery reception and awards ceremony durring the conference October 26-27.

I look forward to seeing all the submissions for the Maple community again this year!

This year, for Christmas, my children* got a Valve Steam Deck under the Christmas tree.  It's a pretty cool device that looks a little  like a monsterous Nintendo Switch, but it can run an impressive subset of the Steam video game catalog, games mostly designed to run on Windows PCs.  It manages this by sporting a custom x86_64 processor by AMD and running a customized version of Arch Linux that uses Wine via Valve's Proton tool.  The key point here, is that it is a tiny x86_64 compatible computer running Linux. So, of course, I needed to install Maple on it. So, I just paired a bluetooth keyboard, rebooted it into desktop mode and with a few small trick, bam, Maple on the Steam Deck:

There were a few small hiccups that required some work. I had absolutely no problems getting the Maple installer onto the device via a USB drive and no problems running it. I only ran into problems durring license activation:

Fortunately, I talked to our crack technical support team and they were able to identify this as a problem with Arch Linux not having full LSB 3.0 support installed by default. The process for fixing that is documented on the Arch Linux Wiki and involves just installing the ld-lsb package via pacman -- with the small additional wrinkle that you need to take the Steam Deck operating system out of 'read-only' mode in order to do that. But once that was done, I had a full version of Maple running well (albeit at 1280x800 resolution on a 7" display).

Since this device is designed for gaming, I was curious how fast it is compared to some other machines I work on. I chose an arbitrary benchmark of exactly solving a random linear system with integer coefficients.

N := 400;
A := LinearAlgebra:-RandomMatrix(N, N):
b := LinearAlgebra:-RandomVector(N):
v := [seq(cat(v__, i), i = 1 .. N)]:
sys := LinearAlgebra:-GenerateEquations(A, v, b):
CodeTools:-Usage(SolveTools:-LinearSolvers:-Rational(`~`[lhs - rhs](sys), v, dense = false)):

which it solves in decent time:

For comparison, this is 30% faster than the 32 core Xeon e5 workstation I do most of my work on, and only 5% slower than my notebook computer with an 8th gen Intel i7.  Not bad for a toy! (please don't make me sad by telling me how much faster this is on a Mac M1 or M2)

Let me know in the comments if you have other benchmarks you want me to run on the Steam Deck. Also, please let me know if you manage to get your employer to buy you a Steam Deck to do scientific computing.


*Okay, maybe it was a gift for me. Shhhh, don't tell.

This is a friendly reminder that the deadline for submissions for this year's Maple Conference Creative Works Exhibit is fast approaching!

If you are looking for inspiration, you can take a look at the writeup of the works that were featured last year in this write up in the most recent issue of Maple Transations.

Also, don't forget that you can also submit art made in Maple Learn for a special exhibit alongside the main gallery.

Hi Maple Users

As I hope you have already heard, Maplesoft is having our Maple Conference again this fall. And that means that

Last year we had many great submissions and you can still read about them in detail on the 2021 conference site. Some of the featured works were excellent Maple visualizations, including a special prize for a student contribution by Avek Dongol (center).

But we also featured a number of impressive physical works, including the people's choice winning wood carving by Paul DeMarco (left), and the judges' choice winning cross stitch by Bridjet Lee and Curtis Bright (right).

This year, we are again looking to fill our virtual exhibition with all types of mathematical art, ranging from computer graphics and animations, to needlework, geometrical sculptures, or almost anything you can come up with. Surprise us!

The full announcement can be found at the Maple Conference Art Gallery page. We would like to have all submissions by September 22nd so that we can review and finalize the gallery before the conference begins November 2nd.

I can't wait to see what everyone sends in this year!

As most Maple Primes readers have hopefully seen, Maplesoft is having our Maple Conference again this fall. This year we decided to add a space to the conference to showcase creative and artistic work that would be interesting to our Maple Community. The conference organizers asked me if I would coordinate and curate this exhibition of creative uses of Math and Maple, and I agreed. So now, I am asking the Maple community to send us your most creative work related to or using Maple.

The obvious thing to submit would be a beautiful digital plot or animation with an interesting mathematical story and of course, we are really interested to see those. But, we would are especially excited to see some art created with physcial media. I would love to see your knitting or needle point project that is inspired by a mathematical theme or was created with the help of Maple.

The full announcement can be found at the Maple Conference Art Gallery page. We would like to have all submissions by October 12th so that can review and finalize the gallery before the conference begins November 1st.

Oh yeah, there will also be prizes.

I can't wait to see what everyone sends in!

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