Tuesday, August 14, 2007

GeoGebra


This is such a nice Maths package. It almost makes me wish I was back in school. ALMOST. Instead of plotting my own graphs, drag and dropping mathematical objects on a virtual graph paper would be so cool. What is different from a CAD software where drawing primitives, tangents, perpendicular lines and measurements are available, GeoGebra actually provides the equations to create the objects.


For example, drawing a like between two points will give the equation y = 0.27x + 4.27. Additionally on right clicking and going to properties, you can set the equation type to ax + by = c. Otherwise, parametric form.

Drawing circles is very easy. What is interesting about this graph editor is that its like a modern parametric CAD app. Because each primitive is based on specific points, when you modify the points, the object will change in real time. This is especially interesting when you have different tangents, angles and related objects linked to one point.

The application is java based, so its platform independent. I used the webstart version which would automatically download the latest version, or otherwise load up from the Java cache.

Whats nice about this app is that it doesn't look cludgy like most Java apps do. The lines are anti-aliased which gives it a very professional look, and the interface is quite responsive. The primitives respond to mouse overs well. However there are issues with the "drop down" buttons. I tend to need just one more click and pause before more selections appear.

The project overall is well developed, and appears to be well funded by the Austrial Academy of Sciences (2004-2006), Austrian Federal Ministry for Education (2006-2007) and US National Science Foundation (2006-2008). Additionally it has support from University of Salzburg and University of Luxembourg.

Eventually when Id have to tutor my kids maths, I hope this project includes other features like parabolic curves and other amazing mathematical beauties.

Update: There are parabolas! At the bottom of the screen, type in Parabola[ , ] (e.g. Parabola[ G, f ] ) and GeoGebra draws it in. Nice! Not sure why its not available in the button menus.

yk.

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