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 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

Audience Q+A

• Q: Why Mathcad? Why not the native program in which this is developed?
• A: “Because Mathcad is ****!  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.