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Physics, maths and engineering students!

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    YO!

    Alright, I want to ask all the TSR students that is currently in University and doing Physics, Maths or Engineering (Electrical, Mechanical, Computer).

    What software and simulation programs do you use and what is the best OS for the majority of them. Windows, Apple, Linux or Hybrid? I know that the storage, processors, memory are important too but for now, I want to know the compatibility of software to the OS.

    I know that this question is kinda general, but I'll be in university this September studying a STEM subject specifically Physics and Maths, and I want to spend my Holiday trying to get myself ready and trying to get used to the software that is going to be used in my Field.

    Thanks.
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    I am not in university, but from open days I saw that the majority use windows. Only take my word if no-one else replies!
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    I'm not studying it at the moment, but my brother in law is an engineer with over a decade of experience. He uses Windows and does pretty much all of his work on Solidworks. CATIA is also a large contender.

    I'm not sure if you'll be able to find anything for free to practice with - Both the programs mentioned above do have student versions, but I think they're still fairly costly. You could have a look at PowerSHAPE-e which has a free version for students. It will let you get some experience with CAD.
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    I am not in university, but from open days I saw that the majority use windows. Only take my word if no-one else replies!
    can you justify that answer?

    I'm not studying it at the moment, but my brother in law is an engineer with over a decade of experience. He uses Windows and does pretty much all of his work on Solidworks. CATIA is also a large contender.

    I'm not sure if you'll be able to find anything for free to practice with - Both the programs mentioned above do have student versions, but I think they're still fairly costly. You could have a look at PowerSHAPE-e which has a free version for students. It will let you get some experience with CAD.
    Thanks you man! I'll have a look at those programs
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    Check out Google Sketchup (free and runs on all platforms). It's probably more important that you get your head around the basic processes (extruding and so on) than any specific software.
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    Windows is best really, everyone I know who has a mac just uses an emulator or dual boot which is hassle. Personally I wouldn't bother with google sketch up. ok it's cool software but compared to professional CAD it doesn't really translate especially with Solidworks. Use it for fun but don't expect it to be good training. Also i'm not sure if Mac has a decent LaTeX editor which you will want to use if you do physics or Engineering. You'd be better off learning that actually.
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    For LaTeX on mac there's an interesting newish app called Scribo.

    Textmate and Sublime Text 2 also support LaTeX (with preview, snippets etc).

    We use both Solidworks and SketchUp - true that it doesn't translate but we find it useful for getting people going with just playing in 3D without all the cognitive overhead of the more heavyweight 3D apps. It also doesn't seem to require such a high spec machine to run it (though of course it depends on your model).

    I make engineering software, with lots of 3D models (I also write maths/programming textbooks which is why I'm on here) and we and all our freelancers and our clients are all on Mac, so I'm not sure the windows/mac thing is at all clear cut - for that side I'd just pick the one that you 'like' the best.
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    You can run Eclipse on Mac and install the Texlipse plugin.

    A lot of apps will be Windows proprietary though.
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    MATLAB
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    (Original post by Stray)
    For LaTeX on mac there's an interesting newish app called Scribo.

    Textmate and Sublime Text 2 also support LaTeX (with preview, snippets etc).

    We use both Solidworks and SketchUp - true that it doesn't translate but we find it useful for getting people going with just playing in 3D without all the cognitive overhead of the more heavyweight 3D apps. It also doesn't seem to require such a high spec machine to run it (though of course it depends on your model).

    I make engineering software, with lots of 3D models (I also write maths/programming textbooks which is why I'm on here) and we and all our freelancers and our clients are all on Mac, so I'm not sure the windows/mac thing is at all clear cut - for that side I'd just pick the one that you 'like' the best.

    Fair points, I just worry with Sketch Up, because it's quite "error friendly" in that it will allow most geometry etc without crashing, that someone who is used to it might find the transition to SolidWorks where you have to be much more careful about your model a bit frustrating.

    The other thing I find frustrating about Sketch Up is that although it does run on almost any machine as you said, it doesn't appear to utilise the hardware of a more powerful machine. A friend was recently animating some life boat mechanisms using Sketch Up and the program was barely taxing the computer but still took an age to do anything and the animations were very jerky. Perhaps we had the settings wrong but we had hardware acceleration on etc. Google themselves say it can only utilise 1 core. Annoying...
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    (Original post by ctgmart)
    YO!

    Alright, I want to ask all the TSR students that is currently in University and doing Physics, Maths or Engineering (Electrical, Mechanical, Computer).

    What software and simulation programs do you use and what is the best OS for the majority of them. Windows, Apple, Linux or Hybrid? I know that the storage, processors, memory are important too but for now, I want to know the compatibility of software to the OS.

    I know that this question is kinda general, but I'll be in university this September studying a STEM subject specifically Physics and Maths, and I want to spend my Holiday trying to get myself ready and trying to get used to the software that is going to be used in my Field.

    Thanks.
    I study Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Everyone on my course bar one guy uses Windows (some have Macs, but this is in addition to a Windows PC). The one guy who doesn't use Windows uses Linux and he struggled with one of our assignments that used Microsoft Visual Studio.
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    I've got a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and am doing a PhD in Space Engineering - here's my take:

    At both university's I've been to, the standard OS on most computers is some variant of Windows (either 7 or Vista), but a lot of them are dual boot with some variant of Linux (Ubunutu or CentOS).

    It seemed to me that most people who knew anything about computers used Windows for boring tasks like word processing, spreadsheets, etc, as well as to use software that the University only had on licence for Windows (like some CAD programs) and then usually booted up in Linux to run simulations in MATLAB/Numeca whatever else, because Linux tends to be a lot sleeker for simulations, and it's easier to set up parallel work stations.

    Personally I grew extremely frustrated with Windows by the beginning of my final year and decided just to start using Linux for everything. I use Ubuntu now on my work computer and my personal laptop.

    As for the softwares that most frequently:

    For creating documents (reports, articles, papers, etc) I use TexWorks.

    For most of my simulation work I use MATLAB.

    For most of my analytical work I use Mathematica.

    And I also use a whole host of open-source Linux softwares for other things - e.g. I use LibreOffice for spreadsheets and presentations and JabRef as a referencing manager (in place of things like EndNote).

    I would recommend Linux. You really can't go wrong with it - all of the commercial softwares you'll use are available for it, and anything that isn't available has an open-source Linux equivalent which is usually much better and less buggy than the commercial version.

    It's faster for simulations, it looks a lot better, it barely every crashes and it's not prone to viruses ... and, a big selling point for me - IT'S FREE!
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    Most of the guys ,seem to have very good suggestions ..You should probably try C++ as well , its used in banks and lots in sciences ,in conjuction with the others mentioned .You will find some of them do some tasks better than others ..So its a matter of your choice..
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    I study mechanical engineering and I don't use any relevant software on my personal laptop or desktop.

    The computers at university still use XP, which is fine and runs all of the software required (Matlab, Ansys, Solidworks, and a host of more specialised software).

    At work we again use Windows, although we don't use any CAD or analysis software, just Office, Excel and Powerpoint.
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    Can somebody please tell me how to run windows on a mac? Do I have to buy a normal windows software package and then what do I do?
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    (Original post by pbsjohnz)
    Can somebody please tell me how to run windows on a mac? Do I have to buy a normal windows software package and then what do I do?
    You use Bootcamp - it's on the mac install disk (if your mac has no slot drive then you'll need to download it on to a usb key instead).

    This allows you to create a dedicated windows partition, and you can dual-boot - ie at boot up you can choose whether to boot into windows or mac.

    As you gathered, you need a licensed copy of windows to install as well. Check out the tech stuff on the apple site for more details of which versions of windows / bootcamp / mac chips play together nicely.

    Of course you can run windows as a 30 day trial, so you can verify that it does what you need before you commit to it.

    The other option is to run windows in a VM such as Parallels. This is the pricier option, more convenient if you're only using low-power apps (they just appear inside a window running windows...) but for gaming or serious power apps you need to dual boot.
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    (Original post by Stray)
    You use Bootcamp - it's on the mac install disk (if your mac has no slot drive then you'll need to download it on to a usb key instead).

    This allows you to create a dedicated windows partition, and you can dual-boot - ie at boot up you can choose whether to boot into windows or mac.

    As you gathered, you need a licensed copy of windows to install as well. Check out the tech stuff on the apple site for more details of which versions of windows / bootcamp / mac chips play together nicely.

    Of course you can run windows as a 30 day trial, so you can verify that it does what you need before you commit to it.

    The other option is to run windows in a VM such as Parallels. This is the pricier option, more convenient if you're only using low-power apps (they just appear inside a window running windows...) but for gaming or serious power apps you need to dual boot.


    Thanks for the reply.

    So basically for engineering I would have to get boot camp and not parallels, also one more question. Will getting this windows slow my Mac down a lot? I have a Macbook pro from last year btw.
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    MATLAB as others have suggested , gnuplot , etc
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    When doing maths i used Vista, worked fine.
    I preferred the use of LaTeX (Winshell, Miktex and Adobe PDF)

    Other programmes we ussed were Derive (but only for one assignment) and MATLAB.

    MATLAB is important i would say.

    I can't give the computer-speech everyone else gives because i dont really know my way around computers that much

    Microsoft office as used by many people, but i tried to avoid it as it wazzed me off.

    Also, depending on your modules you will need some sort of statistial software, we used Minitab but i know that other unis have used SSPS (i think thats what it is)
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    Right well thanks for the reply guys, your suggestions were really good, I shall note everything down and have a look at it.

    anyway I think most of software and programs that was mentioned above are all windows and linux based, some of them can be used on Mac OS as well but it might run to some interference.

    I will make a full revision of this compatibility issue and ill post my research about it.


    anyway thanks guys!

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