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    Home : Company : News Releases : Paper and Pencil = Modern Field?

Paper and Pencil = Modern Field?
Maplesoft Survey Reveals Engineers, Scientists Rely On Hand Calculations Characterizing Engineering as a Modern Field

WATERLOO, CANADA, May 25, 2006 — Maplesoft™, the leading provider of high-performance software tools for engineering, science and mathematics, today announced that according to an international survey, mathematical calculations in engineering and academia are still most often performed with pencil and paper. On a daily basis, respondents turn to scratchpads and calculators more frequently than any other tool for mathematical tasks. The same survey also revealed this community largely considers its field of work and study to be “fully modern” and “taking full advantage of modern tools and technology.”

These results are drawn from an extensive, international survey of scientists, engineers and researchers across a variety of markets, including aerospace, automotive, electronics, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, life sciences, finance and education. With more than 2000 participants, the survey offers unprecedented insight into the daily practices, experiences and perceptions of the technical user community.

When questioned about how frequently they used a range of tools and resources for design and analysis:

  • 52% indicated that they use “hand calculations (calculators) and paper” daily, with an additional 21% citing it as a weekly practice;
  • 47% of respondents indicated that the next most common resources used daily are “electronic references and tables (e.g. CD-ROM, Web),”)” with another 26% using them weekly;
  • 35% indicated that they use “print reference books and tables” daily, with another 31% using them weekly; and
  • 39% indicated daily use of spreadsheets, which remain the most common software tool used in analysis and design. Another 31% of users employ them weekly.

“It is startling to see such hard data revealing the continued reliance on tools and practices that require so much manual effort and leave so much room for error,” said Jim Cooper, CEO of Maplesoft. “This is a user base that is charged with driving innovation, exploring the cutting edge and bringing the best new products and services to market and yet, to a large extent, they are holding onto outdated and outmoded practices. So much of their important work will remain
locked in their notebooks and lost to the layers of their spreadsheets rather than captured and carried forward with all of their logic and thinking documented.”

The Maplesoft survey was open to all engineering professionals, including design engineers, research scientists, field engineers, project managers, consultants and educators. From December 2005 to February 2006, 2092 participants from the United States, Canada, Germany, the UK and Japan filled out the extensive online questionnaire covering collaboration and communication, design and analysis tools and overall perception of the design environment. To see a full report of the survey findings, please visit http://www.maplesoft.com/survey/EngSciToolSurvey060515.pdf

About Maplesoft
Maplesoft is a leading developer and provider of interactive mathematical software. Its suite of products includes Maple, the most powerful and intuitive tool for solving complex mathematical problems and creating rich, executable technical documents; MapleNet, a Web-based platform for sharing Maple content for collaboration and e-learning; and Maple T.A., a Web-based system for creating tests, assignments and exercises, automatically assessing student responses and performance. Its standards-compliant algorithms are renowned for their speed, accuracy and reliability. In addition, Maplesoft leads the market with innovations that make the management of technical knowledge – whether in industry or in a classroom – more effective and efficient. Over two million users at thousands of organizations benefit from advanced Maple technology. The Maplesoft commercial customer base includes Boeing, Bosch, Canon and NASA. Additionally, virtually every major university and research institute in the world, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford and Waterloo, has adopted Maplesoft products to enhance their education and research activities. For more information, visit www.maplesoft.com.

For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Iorgulescu
Maplesoft
519.747.2373 x.289
jiorgulescu@maplesoft.com
David Resnic or Kate Hunter
Schwartz Communications
781.684.0770
maplesoft@schwartz-pr.com