MathCAD

The Foreword for the First edition of the book «Mathcad PLUS 6.0 for Students and Engineers»

There is a story. A balloon floats away in the clouds. The crew caught sight of a man and shouted: «Where are we?» — « You are in a basket.» It was an answer of a mathematician. Only a mathematician could give an absolutely right and absolutely useless answer.

Books, which just inform a reader about new application programs duplicating the program’s documentation are similar to the mathematician’s answer if not in accuracy but in uselessness. Often the book comes out at the same time as the new version of the program with new possibilities requiring new analysis (a phenomenon of the light of a dying star). This is the reason why the author has not described Mathcad in a traditional way.

The book consists of the problem (studies, etudes) ¾ in Russian one word covers all these meanings. The author understands that this style may not be sufficient for a reader. That is why the book falls into two parts. The first part collects the problems. What are they? In the language of chess-players a problem means an exercise to work out some situations in the play. The problems of this book can’t teach you to use Mathcad (just as trying to teach somebody to swim on dry land), but they can show the ideology of working with Mathcad. Simple examples broach the critical mathematical questions (algebraic and differential equations, simultaneous equations, optimization, statistics, simulation, and symbolic mathematics).

A study by an artist is a drawing that is done in preparation for a future picture. The mathematical problems of this book aren’t only the exercises, but a kind of study where an attentive reader can find a lot of advice and interesting ideas useful to draw large Mathcad pictures. This is the third book in the style of problems on computer science.

An old song in the new style ¾ perhaps a translation of the English word remake. The idea of «remake» is most popular in the cinema. We can often see a new film based on an old scenario. This method is used in programming, for example, when a DOS-version of a program is rewritten for Windows. The author uses remakes too for some of the problems originally appeared, in particular, as articles in the Computer Press magazine. In this connection the author regrets about possible revisions and self-compilation.

The second part of the book (appendix) has another author and another style: MathSoft Inc. (101, Main Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) provides information from the User Guide translated by the Russian company SoftLine Corp.

The author expresses deep gratitude to:

- N.A. Slivina, perfect mathematician and very nice lady, for her help in preparation of the articles — a basis of the book. Our discussion about the role of computers in teaching mathematicians is on these pages.
- I.P. Borovikov, director of the firm SoftLine, Steven Finch and Rob Dooly, managers of MathSoft, Inc.
- A. Shevchenko and all the students of Moscow Power Engineering Institute (Technical University): to the students of my Computer Science course, whose dialogue has helped the author to write this book.

June, 1996