Håkan Wettergren

Wolfram SystemModeler: Mechanical Engineering Landing Gear Example

November 24, 2015 — Håkan Wettergren, Applications Engineer, SystemModeler (MathCore)


Teachers and textbook authors often need to simplify a real-world problem to pinpoint a specific area to work with—for instance, the examples in a textbook. However, even in real-world engineering, simplifying a problem can bring clarity when our understanding might otherwise drown in a sea of details. In this blog, we will design the landing gear for a helicopter. I have chosen the example of landing gear because the simplification to one degree of freedom gives accurate results and is typically how the problem is treated in textbooks. The solution is attainable through hand calculation. But a more subtle understanding of the problem can be gained using the Wolfram Language and Wolfram SystemModeler.



Posted in: SystemModeler

Michael Trott

Aspect Ratios in Art: What Is Better Than Being Golden? Being Plastic, Rooted, or Just Rational? Investigating Aspect Ratios of Old vs. Modern Paintings

November 18, 2015 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist

Paintings of the great masters are among the most beautiful human artifacts ever produced. They are treasured and admired, carefully preserved, sold for hundreds of millions of dollars, and, perhaps not coincidentally, are the prime target of art thieves. Their composition, colors, details, and themes can fascinate us for hours. But what about their outer shape—the ratio of a painting’s height to its width?

In 1876, the German scientist Gustav Theodor Fechner studied human responses to rectangular shapes, concluding that rectangles with an aspect ratio equal to the golden ratio are most pleasing to the human eye. To validate his experimental observations, Fechner also analyzed the aspect ratios of more than ten thousand paintings.

We can find out more about Fechner with the following piece of code:

Using WikipediaData to learn more about Fechner


Oleksandr Pavlyk

New in the Wolfram Language: RandomPoints

November 13, 2015 — Oleksandr Pavlyk, Manager of Probability and Statistics, Mathematica Algorithm R&D

Picking random points on the surface of a sphere so that the points are uniformly distributed is not as straightforward as you might think. Naively picking random spherical coordinates ϕ and θ will not give a uniform distribution of points. The problem is important enough to warrant a dedicated article in encyclopedias, such as Wolfram MathWorld (see Sphere Point Picking). Uniform sampling from Sphere[] is now available in the Wolfram Language with the RandomPoint function:

RandomPoint on a Sphere

Finding if the point is on the sphere

In fact, RandomPoint can be used to uniformly sample from any bounded geometric region, in any dimension. In 2D:

Uniformly sample geometric region in 2D


Posted in: Developer Insights

Keiko Hirayama

Dissecting the New Anatomy Content in the Wolfram Language

November 11, 2015 — Keiko Hirayama, Wolfram|Alpha Developer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content

The human body has been a subject of study since the earliest days of human history. The modern scientific fields of anatomy and physiology stem from the Renaissance symbiosis of art and anatomy. In the early 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci was among the first to accurately sketch bodily structures. In 1543, Andreas Vesalius published the famous textbook De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) with beautiful illustrations of the human body.

With modern technology at our disposal, we can take anatomy and physiology off the page and digitally put it into a readily computable format. Through Wolfram|Alpha, we are making it possible for you to gain further insight into how individual anatomical structures interplay in the human body and explore it from entire organ systems down to microscopic ganglia.

Let’s begin our exploration with a macroscopic structure.

A vital organ of the cardiovascular system, the heart:

Using Wolfram|Alpha to look at the heart


Posted in: Wolfram|Alpha

Wolfram Blog Team

HackingEDU Takes on Education with Just a Few Lines of Code

November 6, 2015 — Wolfram Blog Team

The San Mateo Event Center hosted the “world’s largest education hackathon” the weekend of October 23 through 25. HackingEDU was high-energy, fast paced, and fun. Over 2,000 people participated; they had 36 hours to create.

On their website, HackingEDU features a quote from Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The HackingEDU participants worked hard to make that motto a reality. As with all good hackathons, there was collaboration, learning, and most importantly, cool new coding and inventions.

Wolfram Research was there as a sponsor to assist the competing teams with Wolfram Development Platform, instant APIs, and other aspects of the Wolfram Cloud. We were thrilled to see 21 teams using Wolfram technologies for their projects.

SmartCards, CereBro, Exchangeagram projects from HackingEDU


Posted in: Education

Christopher Carlson

The 2015 One-Liner Competition Winners

November 5, 2015 — Christopher Carlson, Senior User Interface Developer, User Interfaces

The One-Liner Competition has become a tradition at our annual Wolfram Technology Conference. It’s an opportunity for some of the most talented Wolfram Language developers to show the world what amazing things can be done with a mere 128 characters of Wolfram Language code.

More than any other programming language, the Wolfram Language gives you a wealth of sophisticated built-in algorithms that you can combine and recombine to do things you wouldn’t think possible without reams of computer code. This year’s One-Liner submissions showed the diversity of the language. There were news monitors, sonifications, file system indexers, web mappers, geographic mappers, anatomical visualizations, retro graphics, animations, hypnotic dynamic graphics, and web data miners… all implemented with 128 or fewer characters.

The first of three honorable mentions went to Richard Gass for his New York Times Word Cloud. With 127 characters of Wolfram Language code, he builds a word cloud of topics on the current New York Times front page by pulling nouns out of the headlines:

Word Cloud of current New York Times front page nouns


Jenna Giuffrida

New Books Using Wolfram Technologies Show Diverse Applications of the Wolfram Language

October 28, 2015 — Jenna Giuffrida, Content Administrator, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

We’re well into fall, and even if you’re not a student anymore, who can help but think of books as the weather starts to turn and the leaves begin to change? Here at Wolfram, it’s been an exciting season for new books and authors exploring geometry, differential equations, graphics, and more with Wolfram technologies.

Hands-on Start to Wolfram Mathematica and Programming with the Wolfram Language, Geometry and Mathematica System, and Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems: Computing and Modeling, 5th edition


Posted in: Education

Vitaliy Kaurov

Wolfram Community Is Turning 10,000

October 20, 2015 — Vitaliy Kaurov, Technical Communication & Strategy

Community is about to turn 10,000! Members, not years. We launched Wolfram Community in July of 2013. After two short years, it has grown to just a hair’s breadth away from 10,000 participants. Join now and help us reach this milestone!

We’ll award prizes to new members with the most creative profiles who join until the day we hit 10,000. The five people with the most detailed and creative profiles will get a one-year subscription of Wolfram|Alpha Pro and one million Wolfram Cloud Credits. Wolfram Community profiles allow flexible formatting (here is an example), so use it fully. An additional grand prize will go to one of the winners—a personally signed copy of Stephen Wolfram’s upcoming book, An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language. In your Wolfram Community profiles, tell us about what you’ve done and dream to do with Wolfram technologies. The best dream wins!

We have seen many great posts and built new features for the convenience of our members. Today we’re excited to unveil a number of usability improvements, starting with what we call “email notifications.”


Posted in: Wolfram News

Wolfram Blog Team

Democratic Presidential Debate Word Clouds

October 14, 2015 — Wolfram Blog Team

The first Democratic debate of the 2016 election season has finally come to pass. Although the Democratic party has less than half the number of candidates as the Republican party, this event was just as lively and saw just as much hype. As we did for the two GOP debates, we used last night’s transcripts of everything the candidates said to create linguistic images using the WordCloud function.

In case you missed our previous posts, WordCloud is a Wolfram Language function that allows anyone to visualize words, sized by their frequency in a text. With just one line of code, you can create a word cloud graphic from data, text, or URLs.

Lincoln Chafee Hillary Clinton Martin O'Malley Bernie Sanders Jim Webb


Rob Morris

Using the Wolfram Language in the Classroom: Civics

October 9, 2015 — Rob Morris, Education Product Analyst, Business Analysis

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Wolfram Language in the Classroom series. Today is the fifth and final post in the series and I’ll be talking about introducing more data into civics and social studies classrooms. One of the great things about this lesson is that the data can be drawn from your location, giving it a personalized feel.

This lesson employs a computational thinking methodology by asking students to create and support claims by analyzing data.