José Martín-García

New in the Wolfram Language: AnglePath

May 21, 2015 — José Martín-García, Research Staff Member

A brilliant aspect of the Wolfram Language is that not only you can do virtually anything with it, you can also do whatever you want in many different ways. You can choose the method you prefer, or even better, try several methods to understand your problem from different perspectives.

For example, when drawing a graphic, we usually specify the coordinates of its points or elements. But sometimes it’s simpler to express the graphic as a collection of relative displacements: move a distance r in a direction forming an angle θ with respect to the direction of the segment constructed in the previous step. This is known as turtle graphics in computer graphics, and is basically what the new function AnglePath does. If all steps have the same length, use AnglePath[{θ1,θ2,...}] to specify the angles. If each step has a different length, use AnglePath[{{r1,θ1},{r2,θ2}, ...}] to give the pairs {length, angle}. That’s it. Let’s see some results.


Ed Pegg Jr

Biggest Little Polyhedron—New Solutions in Combinatorial Geometry

May 20, 2015 — Ed Pegg Jr, Editor, Wolfram Demonstrations Project

In many areas of mathematics, 1 is the answer. Squaring a number above or below 1 results in a new number that is larger or smaller. Sometimes, determining whether something is “big” is based on whether a largest dimension is greater than 1. For instance, with sides of length 13,800 km, Saturn’s hexagon would be considered big. A “little polygon” is defined as a polygon where 1 is the maximum distance between vertices. In 1975, Ron Graham found the biggest little hexagon, which has more area than the regular hexagon, as shown below. The red diagonals have length 1. All other diagonals (not drawn) are smaller than 1.

Regular hexagon, biggest little hexagon, biggest little octagon showing lengths of 1


Posted in: Mathematics

Jenna Giuffrida

Registration for the 2015 Wolfram Technology Conference Now Open!

May 18, 2015 — Jenna Giuffrida, Content Administrator, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

The 2015 Wolfram Technology Conference is officially on the horizon, and we are getting excited to show you what we’ve been doing with the Wolfram Language and our growing technology stack. While assembling your calendar for the rest of the year, be sure to save the date for our conference from October 20–22, 2015. Registration is now open, so be sure to secure your spot and submit any talk proposals you may have.

If you’re looking for inspiration or just want a taste of what’s to come, videos from last year’s conference are available on our website. We saw an impressive array of presentations from both guests and our very own developers; below is a sampling of some of the most engaging innovations and projects that were shown.


Posted in: Wolfram News

Christopher Wolfram

New in the Wolfram Language: Cryptography

May 15, 2015 — Christopher Wolfram, Connectivity Group

Cryptography has existed for thousands of years, but before serious computers came around, only specific kinds of messages were worth encrypting. Now that computers routinely manage a huge amount of communication, there is little downside to invisibly applying cryptography to almost everything, from verifying where information comes from to exchanging information securely. Because of cryptography’s widespread use, we added the basic building blocks of modern cryptography to the Wolfram Language with functions using OpenSSL for key generation, symmetric encryption/decryption, and asymmetric encryption/decryption.

The notion of a key in cryptography is similar to the way we use keys in everyday life, in that only someone with a certain key can perform a certain action. One very simple way of arranging this is to have a single key that is used to encrypt as well as decrypt, much like the locking and unlocking of a door:

Making one key to encrypt and decrypt


Posted in: Developer Insights

Stephen Wolfram

Wolfram Language Artificial Intelligence: The Image Identification Project

May 13, 2015 — Stephen Wolfram

“What is this a picture of?” Humans can usually answer such questions instantly, but in the past it’s always seemed out of reach for computers to do this. For nearly 40 years I’ve been sure computers would eventually get there—but I’ve wondered when.

I’ve built systems that give computers all sorts of intelligence, much of it far beyond the human level. And for a long time we’ve been integrating all that intelligence into the Wolfram Language.

Now I’m excited to be able to say that we’ve reached a milestone: there’s finally a function called ImageIdentify built into the Wolfram Language that lets you ask, “What is this a picture of?”—and get an answer.

And today we’re launching the Wolfram Language Image Identification Project on the web to let anyone easily take any picture (drag it from a web page, snap it on your phone, or load it from a file) and see what ImageIdentify thinks it is:

Give the Wolfram Language Image Identify Project a picture, and it uses the language's ImageIdentify function to identify it


Robert Nachbar

Spring Planting, Autumn Harvest

May 7, 2015 — Robert Nachbar, Consultant

Spring is here, finally, and everyone around here is tired of snow this year! Some of the hardier flowers are up already, such as daffodils and hyacinths. So, naturally, I started thinking about when I could put in the more delicate annuals, or even my tomatoes. I don’t want them to be bitten by a late frost (we had one the other day!). And in the autumn, we want to know how late we can harvest before a frost might damage the produce.

Well, I could consult The Old Farmer’s Almanac for the last frost date, but how accurate is it for my specific locale? What about the variability? Might there be a trend to earlier dates due to global warming? To answer these questions, I need historical temperature data. The Wolfram Language has weather data available, so maybe I could do a little data mining and come up with our own planting chart, and you could for your town, too.


Jenna Giuffrida

Ready, Set… Bike! (to Work) — A Data-Fueled Ride for National Bike Month

May 5, 2015 — Jenna Giuffrida, Content Administrator, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

Everyone remembers their first bike, the scrapes and scars, the hard-earned road rash from learning to ride. Riding a bike is the only skill you never forget (or so the saying tells us), but if you’re feeling a little rusty, we know a great way to get reacquainted.

Every May since 1956, the League of American Bicyclists has sponsored National Bike Month to highlight the health benefits of bicycling and inspire more people to give it a try. Communities across the country celebrate two-wheeled glory in various ways; among the many events on Champaign-Urbana’s Bike Month calendar is Bike to Work (BTW) Day on May 14.

Wolfram supports our local BTW Day by providing refreshments at a designated refueling station on State street. Additionally, whether you’re biking to work in CU or elsewhere, we would like to fully prep any intrepid cyclists planning to embark on such a journey by pulling together some vital information.


Posted in: Wolfram|Alpha

Bernat Espigulé-Pons

A Smart Programming Language for a Smart Cities Hackathon

May 1, 2015 — Bernat Espigulé-Pons

On Friday, February 20, I had the pleasure of giving a talk to a group of young and smart individuals enlisted to represent Barcelona in the Global Urban Datafest. For this hackathon, the organizers offered one Raspberry Pi platform per team and a variety of sensors to capture physical parameters. Their list of suggested project topics included data acquisition and actuation, monitoring and management, security transport and mobility, the environment, and more. The event lasted three days and was locally organized by Anna Calveras and Josep Paradells with the help of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona’s City Council, iCity Project, Urbiotica, IBM, and Wolfram Research.

Hackathon participants


Posted in: Education, Raspberry Pi

Richard Asher

European Wolfram Technology Conference Draws Near!

April 30, 2015 — Richard Asher, Public Relations

Frankfurt cityscape-european wolfram tech conf 2-3 june

Come and join us in Frankfurt for the third European Wolfram Technology Conference, Wolfram Research Europe’s action-packed annual showpiece event.

Set for 2–3 June in Germany’s financial capital, the conference is where our latest releases will be showcased. You can also hear from our team of experts, as well as enjoy the opportunity to connect with Wolfram technology users from all over the world. And there’s still time to register for this event at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Frankfurt!


Posted in: Wolfram News

Stephen Wolfram

Instant Apps for the Apple Watch with the Wolfram Language

April 28, 2015 — Stephen Wolfram

My goal with the Wolfram Language is to take programming to a new level. And over the past year we’ve been rolling out ways to use and deploy the language in many places—desktop, cloud, mobile, embedded, etc. So what about wearables? And in particular, what about the Apple Watch? A few days ago I decided to explore what could be done. So I cleared my schedule for the day, and started writing code.

My idea was to write code with our standard Wolfram Programming Cloud, but instead of producing a web app or web API, to produce an app for the Apple Watch. And conveniently enough, a preliminary version of our Wolfram Cloud app just became available in the App Store—letting me deploy from the Wolfram Cloud to both mobile devices and the watch.

A few lines of Wolfram Language code creates and deploys an Apple Watch app