Bradley Carman, a Mathcad customer, presented a session on how to use Mathcad as a data processor, and use a third-party tool for the data collection and management. Below is a summary of the presentation. You can download the presentation from SlideShare here.
Mathcad is an ideal tool for data analysis, but not for storage and management
Bradley searched for a way, didn’t find it – so, he created a way!
Initially, he started with an Excel add-in, and it evolved into a full application called SciData
One way to do this kind of data manipulation is to hard code the data… but that’s not ideal
But this is a tedious process – slow. If values are spread across Mathcad files, the oppty for human error increases
Ideally, one needs to separate the data from the analysis
Use a separate file for data collection, and a (single) worksheet for the analysis … focus on batch processing
Each row is a bucket of information… it can hold arrays, strings, single values, …
Data files use the SDS standard (Scientific Dataset Library from Microsoft Research)
Throughout the presentation, Bradley uses an applied example of drag coefficients on a parachute
Step 1: importing the data
Data files use the SDS standard
Step 2: Categorize the Data set
Step 3: Add Characteristic Values to the Data Set
Step 4 Link to Mathcad Analysis file
Step 5: Execute the link
Step 6: Setup inputs and outputs
Leverages the WRITEPRN function; be sure to use the # symbol (that’s the tag to SciData)
Step 7: Batch processing
Step 8: Compile the results
Bradley demonstrated this with a live demo
Q: Why Mathcad? Why not the native program in which this is developed?
A: “Because Mathcad is sexy! The UI is made for easy manipulation.”
Q: Have you hit an upper limit with your data sets?
A: Well, this is why I moved out of Excel. So, short answer – no.
Q: Have you done anything with photo data?
A: Yes, I have an example at the end of my presentation.
All in all, this is a great third-party enhancement to Mathcad. This showcases the computational power of Mathcad while using another tool to handle the data collection. This also lets another use (perhaps a co-worker who doesn’t have a Mathcad license) to participate in the process by getting data ready for processing.