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The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza N. 32 - September/October 2009

New licenses for IDL Advanced Math and Stats

Recently two floating licenses have been purchased to allow IDL users to access the Advanced Math and Stats Module (formerly known as IDL Analyst). This IDL add-on "integrates the comprehensive mathematical and statistical routines of the IMSL's C Numerical Library with the advanced data visualization and analysis capabilities of IDL. The IDL Advanced Math and Stats Module gives you the ability to directly access nearly 200 proven algorithms and routines from within the IDL environment. Additionally, you can easily call these mathematical and statistical functions from new or existing IDL applications and immediately visualize the results."

iplot crashing in IDL

A user reported that IDL crashes in Fedora 8 machines when one is trying to launch iplot (though all regular graphics routines work correctly). The problem seems to be related to some sort of incompatibility between the PC graphic card and the IDL graphic driver, as suggested in this IDL forum thread. We applied the patch there proposed to a duplicated IDL installation, as such patch may slow down or affect the quality of all other graphics routines. If you need to use iplot, please start the patched IDL version by typing idl71p or idlde71p.

pgplot woes: 32 vs 64bit and reminder about 32 vs 64 bit SO and applicationsr

Recently about 50 obsoleted GX280 Dell PCs have been replaced by new, powerful Optiplex 740AMD desktops (each with a double-core CPU, 4 GB RAM, and 500 GB HD), where Fedora 8 x86_64 has been installed. One recurrent problem with some programs linked against pgplot is that the content of graphic output looks OK, while labels and text aren't displayed at all. This is due to the fact that the pgplot fonts file (grfont.dat) differs for 32- and 64-bit. The variable PGPLOT_FONT by default points to the 32-bit fonts file, as most if not all of the programs we installed IAC-wide that require pgplot are compiled in 32 bits. However, if you compile a code yourself in a 64bit machine you'll end up linking against the 64bit pgplot library and will need the 64bit fonts file. The solution is to redefine the PGPLOT_FONT variable: setenv PGPLOT_FONT /usr/pkg/pgplot/x86_64/pgplot-5.2/grfont.dat. For a more general discussion of 32bit vs 64bit computing, and possible problems and issues, see our SIEpedia article.

Marta virtualized

After about 5 years of faithful and committed service, marta, the SIE's development Web server, has been retired. The new Web server, still called marta, now runs in a virtualized machine installed in a state-of-the-art PC. After configuring the new server, we migrated successfully all our websites from the old to the new marta, which is now running full-time and top-speed. If you wonder whether giving a female name to a PC may cause confusion, we answer that yes, it does: a couple of years ago somebody rang one of our secretaries saying it was absolutely imperative that she could speak with "Marta, the fellow girl in charge of Web matters in the SIE".
SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 32 - September/October 2009 - Contact: