NASA engineers say MathCAD 7.0 is a plus

Using MathCAD 7.0, a group of mechanical engineers at NASA’s Lewis Research Center
in Cleveland design rotor blades and jet engines for researchers there.

Five of the Lewis engineers use MathCAD Professional 7.0 from MathSoft Inc. of
Cambridge, Mass., hosted on a Dell Computer Corp. PowerEdge 6100 server with dual 200-MHz
Pentium processors, 128M of RAM and Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0.

Tony Herrmann, a mechanical engineer, gains access to MathCAD 7.0 by remotely logging
onto a PC running NT Workstation 4.0 from his Silicon Graphics Inc. 02 workstation, which
runs the Irix 6.3 operating system.

To avoid erasures and other mistakes in hand calculations, Herrmann prefers using
MathCAD 7.0. “It’s easy to type and print out and put comments on,’’
he said. “The formatting works well.’’

MathCAD 7.0 helped Herrmann optimize the size of a flywheel for an engine. He also has
used the software to calculate inertial characteristics for solid cubes and disks.
Sometimes Herrmann uses MathCAD to get equations and formulas from textbooks and paste
them into his documents.

He has had MathCAD for about five years—ever since Version 2.0 for MS-DOS—and
said the current version is better than the first Microsoft Windows version, which was
poor at formatting. “The spell-checking works well, and it has good graphical
features,’’ he said.

Most of Herrmann’s fellow engineers work at Dell PCs with 133- to 400-MHz
processors and Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Some of them also use MathSoft’s Axum 5.0
statistical software.

The Lewis center bought the Dell hardware from 8(a) reseller Bay State Computers Inc.
of Lanham, Md., through a NASA contract.

“The support has been very good,’’ said Jeffrey E. Munger, network
administrator in Lewis’ Engineering Design and Analysis Division. MathSoft
technicians were particularly helpful with the client-server installation, he said.

MathCAD Professional 8.0, the successor to Lewis’ 7.0, starts at $459.

Contact MathSoft at 206-283-8802. 


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