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Recreational & Educational Computing

Product Reviews & Holiday Buys
By Dr. M. Ecker, REC Editor

Mac Math Graphics Software
If you are a Mac-using REC reader, you're a prime candidate for the math-oriented appreciation of graphics found in GrafEq by Pedagoguery Software (4446 Lazelle Ave., Terrace, B.C. V8G 1R8 CANADA; phone: (604) 638-8606*). This is a relation-graphing utility rich in features and built-in operations, including extensions of existing ones (e.g., a generalized greatest common divisor extending to non-integers). Samples are delightful, the kind that shame you into either cringing or reading the modest manual to learn how to duplicate. The level is that of secondary school and collegiate math.

Perhaps one of the most immediately noticeable strengths of GrafEq is its ability to handle equations or other relations besides functions, something beyond the pale for graphing calculators and computer algebra systems. Another positive difference is “subtractive plotting”: eliminating regions that contain no solutions, and iteratively producing refined images. (This technique reminded me of the way Fractint, the famed PC fractal shareware program, displays images). Thus, you get a rough outline, and then the program makes another pass, and so on until you get a high-resolution display of the solution. Because the program supports color, I RECommend a color monitor, but the program should run on virtually any Macintosh.

It's almost a shame this program is not available for PCs**, because it could be a great boon for mathematics educators - for whom it was in fact designed. Great graphics, laser printouts, “what if...?” exploring, and more make GrafEq a real winner. Though not a computer algebra system per se, this program - with its freeform equation entry - makes a great addition to a Mac-equipped classroom - or home.

This review is taken from the October–November 1994 issue of Recreational & Educational Computing. Please note that the links have been added by Pedagoguery Software.

Dr. Mike Ecker's Recreational & Educational Computing (REC) (ISSN 0899-014X) may be contacted via E-mail at: Postal mail should be directed to: Dr. Michael W. Ecker; Editor & Publisher; Recreational & Educational Computing; c/o Pennsylvania State University Wilkes-Barre Campus; Lehman, PA 18627; USA.

*See our home page for up-to-date contact information.

**GrafEq became available for Windows in 1995. For up-to-date details, please see the GrafEq page. Note: at the time of publication, REC's postal address was 909 Violet Terrace; Clarks Summit, PA 18411; USA. Phone: (570) 586-2784.