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Scilab ported to Android – Coming on Aakash!

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Here is an EXCLUSIVE, especially for the Engineers, Mathematicians & scientists out there! Scilab is now available on Android. And what’s more, it completely retains its original open-source flavour.

A team from IIT Bombay, under the aegis of the National Mission on Education through ICT (a flagship initiative of the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India) has been working on a port of Scilab for Android. The motivation for the Android port was because the low cost tablet device “Aakash” that the Ministry of HRD of GoI is planning on giving to students in India has Android as it’s operating system.

While Prof. Kannan, the leader of the team at IIT Bombay, says this is still a work in progress, they are the first in the world to bring to you a video of Scilab on an Android tablet!

scilab on android

What is Scilab?

Scilab is the state of the art computational package.  It can be used in the design and simulation of engineering systems.  It can be used by mathematicians and social scientists.  It can also be used for simple calculations.  It can be used by students in schools to those who do research.  It is available absolutely free of cost.  It is also an excellent open source alternative to Matlab.

Who uses Scilab?

Students, scientists and engineers.  It can also be used for data acquisition and control.

Why is an Android port such a big thing?

Until now, Scilab has not been ported to Android to run in native mode.  The team at IIT Bombay had previously ported it on to Debian running as an App under Android.  Unfortunately, however, Scilab may run slowly if not installed in native mode. 

This is the first time that Scilab has been ported to Android to run in native mode.  The speed is excellent, given that the underlying hardware is a simple Arm Cortex A8 processor, with very little accessories, such as RAM.  As a matter of fact, the team at IIT Bombay says the graphs getting generated are at speeds comparable to desktops.  If Scilab runs fast, one can simulate even complicated models in a reasonable time and too on the go on an Android Tablet.

The best part is – Scilab will come pre-installed on Aakash.

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About Arun Prabhudesai

Arun Prabhudesai is founder / chief editor at trak.in. He jumped the Entrepreneurship bandwagon in early 2008 after a long 13 year stint in I.T Industry. You can follow him on twitter @trakin and Facebook. Arun’s Google+ Profile

12 comments

  1. Frank Underdown

    Greetings: Interesting article. I am teaching multivariable calculus this quarter. I plan to use Scilab in in the course. Many of my students have tablets and I just bought a new tablet, runing Android 4.0. I am interested in installing Scilab on it. Question: Do you know what the current state of this project is? Cheers!

  2. Do you already have a downloadable version? I mean, there is going to be a avaiable version to all Scilab comnunity?

  3. Michael Kennedy

    Brilliant stuff Arun!

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  5. puffin shooter

    Hi, Great teaser, but could you be more precise and modify your article? Do you REALLY do a port on Android on Scilab ? (Not sure) In this video, we see only an demonstration of W3 scilab (W3 scilab is only a web applet to call scilab on an external linux server http://www.scilab.org/contrib/index_contrib.php?page=displayContribution&fileID=1238) and not of Scilab. It is not an independant application as Scilab. It is not a port of Scilab (just a client to an extern server wifi connection required) Currently there is no real functional port of Scilab on Android Thanks …

    • srikant patnaik

      Sorry for replying late. The Scilab is running on localhost. W3Scilab is just front end. The scilab engine is running in a light weight chroot’ed environment inside the same Android device. It doesn’t need any Wifi or internet connectivity. In some sense it is not running natively, because we are not using native bionic libc capabilities. We have compiled scilab for ARM version. It doesn’t give any performance issues, the execution time is comparable to any desktop machine(of course we can’t compete :) ). The problem with scilab is(what we felt), it has lot of FORTRAN code, and we don’t have a FORTRAN compiler in android NDK(struggled initially) . We are still working on this, and with the help of scilab community, we can surely compile it some day. But for time being, we are fixing bugs and adding some neat features in the present version.

  6. Ketan Deshmukh

    awesome!

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