Choosing alternative open source software is the best response for students in banned colleges and universities.
MATLAB is also banned.
Recently, some students from Harbin Institute of Technology and Harbin Engineering University (referred to as “Harbin Institute of Technology”, “Harbin Engineering”) said to the public that they had received a notice of deactivation of the MATLAB genuine software, and later learned after negotiating with MathWorks, the software development company, because the United States Authorization has been suspended due to government entity list reasons.
This basic science and engineering software, which is highly praised by college teachers, has also been “stuck”.
MATLAB is banned, which has far-reaching impact on academic research
In colleges and universities, most students majoring in science and engineering have been exposed to MATLAB, and even the first lesson of some majors is to learn to install MATLAB. Therefore, for science and engineering students, its importance should be second only to Office.
MATLAB is a high-level technical computing language and interactive environment integration software produced by the American MathWorks company. It is mainly composed of MATLAB and Simulink. It was first released in 1984. Because of its powerful functions in algorithm development, data visualization, data analysis and simulation modeling, it has a near-monopoly market position in research fields such as mathematics, industrial manufacturing, and financial economics.
At present, millions of engineers and mathematicians in the world are using it, so after its genuine license is forced to be suspended, it will have a strong negative impact on the academic research fields of students in these domestic universities.
Some people in the industry pointed out that if the entire school is banned from genuine MATLAB, it means that the school personnel should not include any content based on MATLAB analysis in principle if they publish papers or engage in commercial projects.
To put it simply, no matter whether you use a genuine or pirated copy, the papers published by the students of this school cannot show the data, charts, etc. obtained by using MATLAB. This also means that the US government has indirectly interfered with the normal research of domestic university students and even the teaching activities of teachers by interfering with the authorization of MATLAB.
College students call to embrace open source
In the face of “sanctions”, the unanimous voice of everyone online is to embrace open source and seek alternatives.
At present, the most popular open source software are as follows:
SCILAB, which is an open source software similar to MATLAB, can implement all the basic functions on MATLAB, such as scientific computing, matrix processing and graphic Display. Since the syntax of SCILAB is very close to MATLAB, those familiar with MATLAB programming will quickly master the use of SCILAB. Currently, SCILAB can run on all PC platforms of Linux, Windows and Mac OS.
Octave, which is a mathematical package similar to MATLAB and Scilab, can perform various operations and programming. It also has a rich C++ interface that can be called by users during programming.
Spyder, which is a lightweight Python IDE, provides advanced code editing, interactive testing, debugging and other features, suitable for data analysis. Spyder’s interface is very similar to MATLAB, and its author admitted to imitating MATLAB’s design in the early years. If the simulation modeling requirements for MATLAB are not high, Spyder is enough to replace it.
However, because there are so many involved, open source software and ecology may actually have some limitations.
Taking RISC-V, the well-known open source instruction set architecture in the industry as an example, members of the foundation expressed concern that the headquarters in the United States would be restricted by American regulations, which would affect the development of the RISC-V ecosystem. So in order to ensure that universities, governments and companies outside the United States can help develop its open source technology, in November last year, Calista Redmond, CEO of the RISC-V Foundation, announced that it would move its headquarters from the United States to Switzerland, which is a permanently neutral country.
Calista Redmond said at the time that while global cooperation had so far been unrestricted, members were “concerned about possible geopolitical disruption”.
Therefore, for this incident, some people even teased that “freehand” would be more secure:
Of course, some people pin their hopes on domestic software. But objectively speaking, it is not an easy task to replace a software that has been developed for nearly 40 years, nor can it be accomplished overnight.
The US government’s intervention in domestic education does not stop there
In fact, in addition to Harbin Institute of Technology and Harbin Engineering, 13 domestic universities are included in the entity list, which are Renmin University of China, Beihang University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Sichuan University, University of Electronic Science and Technology, Hunan University, National University of Defense Technology, Tongji University, Nanchang University, Guangdong University of Technology.
According to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations, these universities will be restricted from exporting, importing or re-exporting, and will not be able to conduct any commercial transactions with local U.S. companies. Affected by this, in theory, they will also face the same problem.
And although it has been claimed to be a “commercial level” restriction, the idea of the US government’s intervention in international academic exchanges and education has always existed since last year.
The first public demonstration of its intervention in academics and education was the decision last year by the IEEE to restrict employees of Huawei and its related institutions from participating in peer review and editing in order to comply with U.S. regulations and obligations. Although IEEE revoked the “ban” on Huawei later due to related factors such as public opinion, the US government’s idea of intervening in academic research does not seem to have stopped.
In May, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump was discussing restrictions on visa applications from China, with news that he would limit the Optional Practical Training Program (OPT). And obviously, this is also an intervention in academic communication and education.
Similar to the previous IEEE incident, now the genuine authorization of MATLAB has been suspended, which has obviously interfered with academic exchanges and scientific development, and has also been subject to many disputes. How things will develop in the later period, Magnesium Ke.com will continue to follow up and report.