Finite Math for Windows

VERSION 2

 

Howard J. Weiss

 

 

 

Finite Math for Windows is a user-friendly software package that enables students to easily solve problems and/or check their work in Finite Mathematics. It consists of 17 modules that correspond to the chapters in most Finite Mathematics books. Use of the software will move the students from the calculator world into the more business-like world of software to help prepare them for their careers.

 

About the software

 

The goal in developing this software has been to provide students with a user-friendly Windows program in order to enable them to easily explore the topics commonly referred to as Finite Mathematics. While students have been successfully using calculators in order to obtain answers to Finite Mathematics problems, this software package provides much more capability than a calculator.

 

     Finite Math for Windows provides more models than a calculator. For example, straight lines can be graphed based on any one of four forms (slope-intercept, point-slope, point-point, normal form) rather than the slope-intercept form required of calculators.

 

     It enables students to see not only the answers but the intermediate calculations for problems. For example, all of the computations involved in matrix multiplication, linear programming or systems of linear equations are shown rather than just the solution.

 

     It will help students to decide what the next step is in a procedure. For example, when solving simultaneous equations the student can choose the next step, have the computer perform the next step or have the computer show the student what the next step should be.

 

     It can provide more or better visual displays for those topics that are graphical in nature. For example, when graphing equations the parameters can be varied very easily using scrollbars in order to see the effects of the changes on the lines.

 

     It provides more answers than does a calculator. For example, the student can see a complete marginal analysis for linear programming with this software.

 

     The software comes with files for the examples in the most popular Finite Mathematics textbooks including those by Armstrong & Davis; Barnett, Ziegler and Byleen; Goldstein, Schneider & Siegel; Lial, Greenwell & Ritchie, Maki & Thompson; and Mizrahi and Sullivan. This way the students can easily see how to apply the software to problems in the textbook.

 

This program has the standard look and feel of Windows so learning the package should pose no problem. Thus, with a small investment in time in exploring this exciting, new program, students will easily be able to completely solve problems in their finite mathematics textbook

 

Software features

 

Standardization

     The graphical user interface for the software is a standard Windows interface. Anyone familiar with a standard spreadsheet, word processor, or presentation package in Windows will easily be able to use the software. This standard interface includes the customary menu, toolbar, status bar, and help files of Windows programs.

 

     Even though the software contains 17 modules (11 models and 6 custom calculators) the screens for every model are consistent, so that after you become accustomed to using one model you will have an easy time with the other models. Similarly, the screens for the calculators have the same consistent appearance which leads to ease of understanding and use of the calculators.

 

     File storage and retrieval is simple. Files are opened and saved in the usual Windows fashion and, in addition, file extensions are determined by module, which makes it easy to find previously saved files.


 

     Data and results, including graphs, can be copied and pasted between this application and other Windows applications.

 

Flexibility

     The screen components and the colors can be customized by the user. This can be particularly effective on overhead data shows.

 

     The user can select the desired output to print and, in addition, several print formatting options are available.

 

     The software can be set to automatically save a file after data has been entered and/or to automatically solve a problem after data has been entered.

 

User-oriented design

     The spreadsheet-type data editor makes data entry and editing extremely easy. In addition, whenever data is to be entered, there is a clear instruction given on the screen describing what is to be entered. Also, when data is entered incorrectly a clear error message is displayed.

 

     Intermediate steps in solving problems are generally available for display.

 

     The display has been color coded so that answers will appear in a different color from data.

 

     There is a menu of modules available that corresponds to the textbook if you are using a textbook on the list.

 

User support

 

     Example files that correspond to examples from these textbooks are included with the package.

 

     The manual is available online from the HELP menu in two formats (DOC and PDF).

 

     Any upgrades are available on the Internet through the download library, which can be easily accessed. (http://weissSoftware.com/download.html).


 

     Help is available by contacting fm@WeissSoftware.com. In addition, this manual is available as a Word document, HTML manual or a PDF file on the installation CD and also it may be installed directly onto your computer.

 

About the developer

 

Howard J. Weiss received his bachelors degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Washington University in St. Louis and his MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering/Management Science from Northwestern University. His background in computer science, his knowledge of applied mathematics and his teaching experience have enabled him to develop and support several different highly successful software packages in the fields of Operations Management and Operations Research/Management Science for Prentice Hall.

 

He has combined his expertise in applied mathematics and his experience with software to develop Finite Math for Windows.