Simulation & CAD

What’s with the new symbolic engine in Mathcad 6.0?

31 October 2019 | Team EACPDS

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What are the differences between the new symbolic engine in Mathcad Prime 6.0 vs the legacy symbolic engine used in earlier versions? Here’s some information for those of you who are wondering.

New Symbolic Engine in Mathcad Prime 6.0

PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0 uses a new symbolic engine that replaces the legacy symbolic engine used in earlier releases of PTC Mathcad Prime (such as Mathcad Prime 5.0, Mathcad Prime 4.0, and earlier versions).
 
The new symbolic engine released with PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0 is used by default now when creating a new worksheet or when opening a new worksheet from an earlier version of the software.
 
When opening a worksheet created in an earlier release of PTC Mathcad Prime contains symbolic evaluations, the following message appears:
 
This document was created with a prior version of PTC Mathcad Prime and contains symbolic evaluation. PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0.0.0 uses new symbolic engine and results of symbolic evaluation may look different. Read more about symbolic engine changes.
 
The above message also appears when you open a converted worksheet that contains symbolic evaluations.
 

Switching Between Symbolic Engines

You can revert to the legacy symbolic engine that was available in earlier versions than the new PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0 at any time. PTC is allowing this in the Mathcad 6.0 version and the Mathcad 7.0 version, then the legacy symbolic engine will be no longer be accessible with Mathcad 8.0.
 
If you’d like to access the legacy symbolic engine, just follow these steps:
1. On the Calculation tab, click Calculation Options > Legacy Symbolic Engine.
2. On the Calculation tab, click Calculate to see the results of switching to the Legacy Symbolic Engine.
 
Clicking the Legacy Symbolic Engine switches between the symbolic engine in PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0 and the legacy symbolic engine in earlier releases of PTC Mathcad Prime. When the legacy symbolic engine is selected, the status bar displays .
 
It is recommended to use the symbolic engine introduced in PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0.0.0 when creating worksheets. The legacy symbolic engine will be deprecated in a future release.
 

Differences Between the Legacy and New Symbolic Engines

We would like to be as transparent as possible with the differences between the legacy and new symbolic engines: Here are some things you should be aware of.
 
New Symbolic Engine Introduced in PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0.0.0
Legacy Symbolic Engine
User Impact
Assumes that undefined variables in the evaluated expressions are real.
Assumes such variables are complex.
Differences in evaluation. Results remain mathematically correct under assumptions made.
Assumes that undefined input arguments are real, but it accepts defined arguments in the form of a+b*1i or 2+5*1i.
Assumes such arguments are complex.
Differences in display of evaluation. Results remain mathematically correct.
In many cases, formulates evaluation results in a different way such as in the order of arguments and other visual differences.
Evaluate ex, specify the keyword series, and compare the result by the two engines.
Differences in display of evaluation. Results remain mathematically correct.
Returns results that are mathematically accurate even if they look different than what the legacy symbolic engine returns.
Evaluate Ai(z)/Ai.sc(z) and compare the result by the two engines.
Differences in display of evaluation. Results remain mathematically correct.
When using the symbolic keyword “float, n” to specify the precision of floating-point calculation results:
• Variable n can be any positive integer.
• The displayed value is the result of rounding-up the selected digits.
When using the symbolic keyword “float, n” to specify the precision of floating-point calculation results:
• Variable n can be any positive integer between 1 and 250.
• The displayed value is the result of rounding-down the selected digits.
• No limit on digits used with keyword float.
• Rounding difference.
Some evaluations of symbolic expressions that were not supported in the legacy symbolic engine are supported in the new symbolic engine. Evaluations of some symbolic expressions that were supported in the legacy symbolic engine are not supported in the initial release of the new symbolic engine but will be added in future releases.
Some evaluations that previously didn’t provide a result will now provide a result. Some evaluations will not provide a result in this first release but will be added in a later release.

About Symbolic Calculation

You can perform operations on symbolic expressions that contain variables or mathematical symbols and PTC Mathcad returns the results in symbolic form.
 
Symbolic evaluation of functions is not supported inside solve blocks.
In symbolic calculation, expressions are evaluated using the symbolic evaluation operator → rather than the numerical evaluation operator =.
 
You can evaluate all of the standard PTC Mathcad operators and many built-in functions symbolically.
 
The benefits of using symbolic evaluation of expressions follow:
• Unlike the numerical evaluation, with symbolics you can evaluate expressions without assigning values to variables.
• Symbolic results can reveal relationships among variables that might not be apparent from numerical results.
• Symbolic calculations are immune to the round-off errors that are inherent in numerical calculations.

To understand all of the new benefits of Mathcad 6.0, you can read our overview in our blog called, What’s New in PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0.