JMax is a new implementation of the MAX software written originally by Miller Puckette at Ircam. The name MAX is an homage to Max Matthews, one of the fathers of computer music.
The MAX concepts
MAX reuses the patchable modular analog synthesizer metaphor. You build patches by placing modules on a graphic surface and connecting these modules together with patch cords. The connections represent paths on which values or signal streams are send between the modules. These modules are either processing units (arithmetics, timing, ...), data containers (tables, ...), system inputs and outputs (audio, MIDI, ...).
MAX modules are called objects in the sense of Object-Oriented Languages. Objects can themselves be patchers, so that a patch has a hierarchical structure. Some objects have graphical interactive behavior and can be used as controllers, to change values in the patch, or as viewers, to display values computed by the patch.