Crystal Ball software for the Mac?
June 18, 2004 8:51 AM   Subscribe

I've recently realized that Crystal Ball is incredibly powerful and cool. Unfortunately, it isn't available on a mac. Anybody know of equivalent software/plugins for the Mac version of Excel?
posted by rorycberger to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I've never used Crystal Ball, but I find that it is very easy to code up Monte Carlo simulations in perl.

Excel is a great tool, but it crashes easily with large and complicated spreadsheets. An external tool like perl allows you to bypass the unstable window-dressing and get down to some hardcore number crunching.

When your data sets get too large for perl to efficiently manage, just install MySQL on your mac.

I usually bring my summary data back to excel for final presentation and charting. However, if Excel's charting options are too limited, there is always gnuplot.

What sort of simulation are you building?
posted by Kwantsar at 10:06 AM on June 18, 2004

Response by poster: Nothing in particular, I mostly just want to play with it. I'm taking an introductory spreadsheet modeling course as part of a month-long intensive business program (Tuck Business Bridge at Dartmouth). I'm pretty handy with excel for charts and graphs, but the professor has shown us some cool tools for more sophisticated data analysis. He showed us crystal ball and gave us explicit instructions for doing an incredibly simple simulation, then told us that it would be impossible to teach us much more, they literally teach a semester long course devoted to crystal ball alone. I was also kind of hoping to find a similar tool i could play with on my mac, maybe read a book, and (if i get reasonably proficient with it) be able to put it on my resume as a skill.
posted by rorycberger at 6:13 PM on June 18, 2004

I'll see your gnuplot and raise you an R. It slices! It dices!...

It's Free, and it makes great plots. Tons of built-in functionality, plus lots of add-on packages for stuff that isn't. I find it to be handier than Perl for many things too (but not text munging). It's an interactive environment, which is conducive to testing scenarios. I have more good things to say about it, but I'm feeling groggy, so check the website out.
posted by undecided at 6:56 PM on June 18, 2004

I think there may be a similar program called Gauss. Not sure if it's available on the Mac.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:01 PM on June 18, 2004

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