Richard Asher

The Nobel Prize in Physics

October 1, 2014 — Richard Asher

The Nobel Prize in Physics ceremony is upon us once again! With the 2014 winner set to be revealed in Stockholm next week, we at Wolfram got to wondering how many of the past recipients have been Mathematica users.

We found no less than 10 Nobel Prize–winning physicists who personally registered copies of Mathematica. That’s at least one in every eight Physics laureates since 1980! And anecdotal evidence suggests that nearly every Nobel laureate uses Mathematica through their institution’s site license.

Frank Wilczek Wolfgang Ketterle John Forbes Nash, Jr.

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Anneli Mossberg
Olle Isaksson

Modeling Aircraft Flap System Failure Scenarios with SystemModeler

September 29, 2014
Anneli Mossberg
Olle Isaksson

Have you heard about the Boeing 747 Dreamlifter that flew to the wrong airport and was forced to land on too short of a runway? Luckily, that story had a happy ending, and no passengers were hurt. Still, it is a potentially dangerous scenario when the landing distance required (LDR) is longer than the runway, and there are other possible reasons for such a situation besides a pilot gone astray.

One potential cause of such a scenario is a flap system failure. Flaps are hinged devices located on the trailing edges of the wings, where their angular position can be adjusted to change the lift properties of the plane. For example, suitably adjusting the flap position can enable the plane to be flown at a lower speed while maintaining its lift, or allow it to be landed with a steeper angle of descent without any increase in speed. One of several resulting advantages is that the LDR becomes shorter. This makes me wonder: Could a small flap failure increase the LDR so much that the assigned runway is suddenly too short?

To answer such a question, you have to understand the effects that a failure on a component level have at a system level. How will the control system react to it? Can we somehow figure out how to detect it during a test procedure? Can we come up with a safety procedure to compensate for it, and what happens if the pilot or maintenance personnel for some reason fail to follow that procedure?

Hydraulics

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Posted in: SystemModeler

Jamie Peterson

Presentations Available from Wolfram Experts Live: New in Mathematica 10

September 24, 2014 — Jamie Peterson, Technical Programs Manager

Following one of our most anticipated releases to date, we hosted the virtual workshop Wolfram Experts Live: New in Mathematica 10 to give the Wolfram community the details on this latest version of our flagship product Mathematica.

Mathematica 10

A dozen Wolfram experts and Mathematica developers came together at our headquarters—both in person and remotely via online connections—to take turns showing off new advances in usability, algorithmic functionality, and integration with the Wolfram Cloud. Presenters participated in a live Q&A with the online audience, and in turn were able to hear from Mathematica users and enthusiasts.

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Stephen Wolfram

Introducing Tweet-a-Program

September 18, 2014 — Stephen Wolfram

In the Wolfram Language a little code can go a long way. And to use that fact to let everyone have some fun, today we’re introducing Tweet-a-Program.

Compose a tweet-length Wolfram Language program, and tweet it to @WolframTaP. Our Twitter bot will run your program in the Wolfram Cloud and tweet back the result.

Hello World from Tweet-a-Program: GeoGraphics[Text[Style["Hello!",150]],GeoRange->"World"]

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Posted in: Wolfram Language

Stephen Wolfram

Launching Today: Mathematica Online!

September 15, 2014 — Stephen Wolfram

It’s been many years in the making, and today I’m excited to announce the launch of Mathematica Online: a version of Mathematica that operates completely in the cloud—and is accessible just through any modern web browser.

In the past, using Mathematica has always involved first installing software on your computer. But as of today that’s no longer true. Instead, all you have to do is point a web browser at Mathematica Online, then log in, and immediately you can start to use Mathematica—with zero configuration.

Here’s what it looks like:

Click to open in Mathematica Online (you will need to log in or create a free account)

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Crystal Fantry

Mathematica Summer Camp 2014 Comes to a Close

September 10, 2014 — Crystal Fantry, Manager, Education Content

Thirty students from six different countries came together to explore their passion for programming and mathematics for two weeks in July, and the result was extraordinary! Each and every one of these students created a significant Wolfram Language project during the camp. Their projects and interests ranged from physics and mathematics to automotive engines to poker and blackjack.

MSC 2014 group photo

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Jon McLoone

Solving the Knight’s Tour on and off the Chess Board

September 4, 2014 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development

I first came across the knight’s tour problem in the early ’80s when a performer on the BBC’s The Paul Daniels Magic Show demonstrated that he could find a route for a knight to visit every square on the chess board, once and only once, from a random start point chosen by the audience. Of course, the act was mostly showmanship, but it was a few years before I realized that he had simply memorized a closed (or reentrant) tour (one that ended back where he started), so whatever the audience chose, he could continue the same sequence from that point.

In college a few years later, I spent some hours trying, and failing, to find any knight’s tour, using pencil and paper in various systematic and haphazard ways. And for no particular reason, this memory came to me while I was driving to work today, along with the realization that the problem can be reduced to finding a Hamiltonian cycle—a closed path that visits every vertex—of the graph of possible knight moves. Something that is easy to do in Mathematica. Here is how.

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Johan Rhodin

Wolfram SystemModeler in Electrical Engineering Courses

August 21, 2014 — Johan Rhodin, Kernel Developer

I’m an electrical engineer by training. In my first circuits class, all calculations were done by hand, and we could check solutions with unintuitive circuit simulators using the SPICE methodology. With SystemModeler I think it’s easier than ever to get started building virtual circuits and trying what-if scenarios for electrical circuits and systems. In this blog post, I’ll start from very basic circuits with components such as resistors and inductors and gradually add more complexity in the form of amplifiers and switching circuits.

If you want to follow along, you can download a trial of SystemModeler. It’s also available with a student license, or you can buy a home-use license.

Let’s start with the simplest electrical circuit I can think of:

Simplest electrical circuit

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Posted in: SystemModeler

Michael Trott

Which Is Closer: Local Beer or Local Whiskey?

August 19, 2014 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist

In today’s blog post, we will use some of the new features of the Wolfram Language, such as language processing, geometric regions, map-making capabilities, and deploying forms to analyze and visualize the distribution of beer breweries and whiskey distilleries in the US. In particular, we want to answer the core question: for which fraction of the US is the nearest brewery further away than the nearest distillery?

Disclaimer: you may read, carry out, and modify inputs in this blog post independent of your age. Hands-on taste tests might require a certain minimal legal age (check your countries’ and states’ laws).

We start by importing two images from Wikipedia to set the theme; later we will use them on maps.

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Tom Sherlock

Fixing Bad Astrophotography II: Imaging Mars with Mathematica

August 14, 2014 — Tom Sherlock, User Interface Group

The planet Mars comes into opposition, the point closest to the Earth, about every 780 days, or a bit over two years. The Martian opposition this year was on April 9. This past May, on a rare clear, warm night, I attempted to capture some images of the red planet. Unfortunately once I had my telescope set up, Mars had passed behind a large tree, so the images I captured were distorted by tree branches. Nevertheless, I did manage to capture a set of frames, and hoped that image processing with Mathematica could produce something usable.

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