In the not too distant past, anyone who wanted to manipulate or analyze data for a scientific or engineering project would need to know low level programming languages, especially if there was a real sensor or hardware in the loop. Consequently, 8086 machine language was commonly taught in physics and engineering programs. But with the advent of scientific programming environments like MatLab™, Mathematica™ or R, most researchers no longer need to take the time or suffer the brain damage required to acquire such arcane knowledge. Instead, they can employ a relatively simple and widely used scientific programming environment so that they can focus on being creative about their research. While these programming environments are simple and flexible, they allow for very complex applications. And since the users themselves generally write the application programs, they are free to share their work for free or to charge for it.
|This paper was first published as part of Space Commerce, The Inside Story, published by the Aerospace Technology Working Group (ATWG) and included on this site through the courtesy of ATWG, ISU and the individual authors.
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