Wolfram Expands Into System Modeling

Expanding beyond its scientific and engineering number-crunching software, Mathematica maker Wolfram Research released a desktop application for full-scale system modeling and simulation, the company announced Wednesday.

SystemModeler allows engineers and designers to create models of physical systems, using a modeling palate and a vast library of physical and logical components. In addition to providing a static model of the system being designed, SystemModeler also can simulate how a system runs, using time-lapse visualizations.

In a blog entry posted Wednesday, company founder Stephen Wolfram admitted that system-modeling software is a mature field, with plenty of products to currently choose from. What separates SystemModeler from competitors, he argued, is its ability to cover a wide range of fields and domains of practice.

"In the past, products tended either to be specific to a particular application domain (like electric circuits or hydraulics), or were based on rigid low-level component models such as procedural blocks," Wolfram wrote. "What SystemModeler does is to use a fully symbolic representation of everything, which immediately allows both arbitrary domains to be covered, and much more flexible models for components to be used."

The software draws from Wolfram's 2011 acquisition of MathCore Engineering AB, which sold its own modeling and simulation software system, called MathModelica.

Naturally, SystemModeler is integrated with Wolfram's Mathematica software, as well as with its Modelica modeling language. By integrating closely with Mathematica, SystemModeler provides a tighter integration between the modeling and engineering phases of system design, the company claimed. Engineering tasks can be accompanied by a better visualization of the system design, while the modeling phase can be backed by real calculations.

Wolfram is marketing the software for a range of industries, including aerospace, automotive and manufacturing. SystemModeler works on both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows, as well as for Apple OS MAC, versions 10.5 and higher. A student edition costs US$75, an academic edition costs $495, and a commercial edition runs $3,495, though discounts are available for purchases bundled with Mathematica, as well as for short term use .

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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