SIDEBAR: Selected Suppliers of Math, Stat, And Graphing Software

No scientific task is more universal than the job of analyzing data. Programs for this purpose were among the first applications written for mainframe computers, and the programs made the jump to microcomputers soon after the beginning of the personal-computer revolution in the early 1980s.

Despite recent mergers among statistical software companies, scientists still have an embarrassment of riches when it comes time to choose software for analyzing and graphing data. There are literally dozens of programs out there, ranging from large, highly flexible packages to those focused on a narrow subfield.

Choosing the right program may be getting progressively more difficult, however, since software vendors seem to release new versions of their programs annually, with continually evolving sets of features. "The market is extremely competitive," explains Santanu Bhattacharya, director of software marketing for Microcal Software Inc. of Northampton, Mass. Microcal...

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