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May 2014

Time once again for the montly newsletter!  Monthly that is, if you define months according to the opposition of Saturn. (Seriously, get your binoculars out tonight.) Yes it’s been a while but the timing is convenient since the Analytica 4.5 upgrade is now available!  As always, please feel free to submit any questions or suggestions for the newsletter. We are back to publishing more often.

Paul Sanford
Newsletter Editor


 

 
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    Analytica 4.5 Released  Jobs at Lumina:

If you haven’t upgraded already, now is the time to install Analytica 4.5. The upgrade is free to customers with current support. While this upgrade concentrates on many technical details beneath the surface, there are some nice new features you can explore:

Unicode Support

   We’re excited to see Analytica models produced in all parts of the world now that 4.5 supports Unicode and International Alphabets.  Although the user interface is still in English, users can now create influence diagrams in Chinese, Greek, Japanese, Russian or any other Unicode supported language.

Want to further your career on your knowledge of Analytica?  Lumina is seeking:

Energy Analyst paid intern: Work on important issues in energy and sustainability, summer 2014 and after.

Director of Consulting: Lead and grow Lumina’s consulting group, with a focus on helping clients and building decision-support models in energy.

64-bit now offered to all licensed users

32-bit and 64-bit versions are now offered at the same price.  If you are a 32-bit user with current support and have a 64-bit OS, download the 64-bit version of Analytica 4.5.  Your license will be upgraded automatically.

Other new features in 4.5:

  • Enhancements to Expression Assist give more detail about function parameters.
  • Support for complex numbers and new built-in functions for manipulating them.
  • Simplified expressions using Repeated Parameter Forwarding syntax. This new feature allows you to operate over all indexes of an array without calling out the indexes explicitly.
  • The assignment operator (:=) can now change the state of an existing Choice() pull-down or a Checkbox.  This gives you more options for UI design.
  • New built-in functions for multivariate regression.
  • New probability distributions useful for failure modeling and non-parametric hypothesis testing.
  • 4.5 is backward compatible with existing models and improves computational accuracy with updated floating point computation standards.

On the horizon for 4.6 we are focusing on adding new graphing features.  Keeping your support current will ensure free access to all upgrades as they become available.

To update, simply download the new version and install. Your existing license will be applied automatically. See the Analytica Wiki


 

Lumina Blog Highlights

Some new blog entries have been posted recently. Contributors include Lumina insiders and general users. Check it out and please let us know if you would like to contribute on a special topic.

Dr. StrangeIndex, or...
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Value Attribute
 
What do Sci-Fi horror victims, string theorists, and Analytica users have in common? They all find themselves tracking down unexpected dimensions from time to time. Those unfortunate enough to find themselves being chased by slobbering aliens obviously hold the short straw in this group. String theorists have the easiest job because they don’t burden themselves with the need to gather experimental evidence. (Ouch!) The Analytica users fall somewhere inbetween.

Dimensions propagate so efficiently along the influence chain in Analytica, you may often find yourself asking “How did THAT dimension get there?” Maybe you’ll get lucky and find the source of the unwanted dimension within a couple of influence steps: “Oops! I forgot to sum over an index here.” But a complex model with many hierarchy levels might drive you to throw in the towel and take a string theory class. Put down the physics book and take a deep breath! Tracking dimensions in Analytica is easier than you think. Just get to know the Value attribute.

 Value is one of the items you have always ignored in the attribute pane pull-down. If you select it, you will see the value of the variable along with a list of its dimensions. Compared to counting dimensions in the evaluation window, this is a much more convenient way to explore the model.

But the full power of the Value attribute kicks in when you enable it in the Object Window!  Go to the Object Menu, select Attributes, and place a checkmark next to Value

 
 You will see the list of input variables in the Object Window as you always do. But now there is a new column on the right hand side that lists the indexes of all the input variables!

Now everything you need to hunt down strange dimensions is in one place.  Think of this time saving feature as the analytical equivalent of an alien-scorching flame thrower and enjoy!


 

 
Exploring the Future of the Automobile with ATEAM  
What if battery prices drop by a factor of five in five years, as announced in 2012 by then Secretary of Energy Steven Chu?  If biofuels from cellulosic material — not corn or other food  — becomes cheaper than gasoline?  Or what if the US increased its fuel tax to be comparable with Europe?  ATEAM (Analytica Transportation Energy Assessment Model) lets you explore how these kinds of changes in technology or policy drive adoption of new fuels and vehicle types into the US fleet — and how that would effect the cost of driving, oil consumption, and emissions of greenhouse gases.  ATEAM has been developed by Lumina for the US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technology Program.  It’s designed to let researchers, policy analysts, and, actually, anyone interested, explore possible futures.  You can see more at the Lumina website including ATEAM Policy Briefs on seven key questions.


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