Philadelphia Area Hewlett-Packard Handheld Club Meeting

Wednesday, April 24, 1996 - Drexel University

HP48 Algebra Package Gets an Update

The very-popular ALG48 freeware algebra package for the HP48, written by Claude-Nicolas Fiechter and Mika Heiskanen, had been given a big boost in capability with its version 3.0 release. Its original capability included manipulation, simplification and factorization of multivariate polynomials, along with exact numeric calculation involving unlimited precision, and handling of symbolic arrays and matrices. Added in this version are new functions involving unlimited-size integer numbers including modular arithmetic and primality testing. Also the advanced simplification routine ASIM is added, which performs non-rational simplification on expressions containing any or all of the following:

A complete list of simplification rules for ASIM are supplied in the extensive documentation (around 20 pages). If you need this library and can't get to one of our meetings to get it, you can find it on the World Wide Web at listed as "Alg" under the Math category.

EMU48DOS - The HP48 Emulator

In an earlier handout it was mentioned that a handful of HP48 emulators had been floating around, which work for various operating systems. At present, versions for Unix, MS-DOS and Windows 95 have appeared. I finally have gotten the DOS-based EMU48DOS working and can say that it is a true representation of the calculator's behavior. After the user creates a hex dump of his HP48's ROM (all 512K bytes in the case of the G/GX) using the supplied tools, the emulator is ready to go. Just type EMU48.EXE and it begins by putting a copy of the HP48 display in the upper left-hand corner of the PC screen. Initially, this behaves like a master-cleared machine, so it asks the dreaded question: "Try to recover memory?". Answering "NO" by pressing the F key on the PC keyboard puts the emulator into a startup configuration with RAM and stack empty. In order to press emulated keys, there is a mapping of all 49 calculator keys to PC keyboard keys. Generally, if a key corresponds to an ALPHA-mode letter, then that letter is the PC keyboard key to press. Numbers also map to numbers and shifts are accessed through the left-hand ALT and CTRL keys. A complete list of key mappings is supplied with the documentation. As far as benchmarking the speed is concerned, I can confirm the supplied estimate that running the emulator on a 486 DX2/66 will result in 25 percent higher performance than the calculator itself.

Also provided in the emulator capabilities are ways to import objects into emulated calculator RAM and export objects back out to PC files for downloading to an HP48. Currently, the only features not handled properly are timer and serial communication support. But, heck, it's just an emulator.

Educalc WWW Site

Finally, it looks like EduCalc is moving into the nineties. After numerous attempts, they now have a World Wide Web site (at It is currently under construction, but grows every day, with more and more information about products and services which they offer. Soon we will be able to see sections of their quarterly catalog and place orders electronically. This is a boon for foreign customers who cannot afford to call long distance or have trouble keeping up with the hardware and software third-party offerings.


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