Two Weeks of Intense Mathematica
February 21, 2008 — Onkar Singh, Manager of Technology Services
For years, I’ve been hearing about the NKS Summer School, and about how productive people find the three weeks of “immersion” there. For quite a while, people around Wolfram Research have been asking, “Why can’t we do something similar for Mathematica?”
Well, now we are. This year, we’re offering a two-week Advanced Mathematica Summer School.
Partly, it’s going to provide an opportunity for people to learn about all those parts of today’s Mathematica technology that they haven’t had a chance to work with yet. But the most important objective of the Summer School is to help people take their projects and implement them in incredible ways with Mathematica.
It’s going to be an intense experience. We’re expecting that during the two weeks of the Summer School, every attendee will be able to use the latest Mathematica technologies to create a final product of some kind—that they and their colleagues, students, or customers will be able to use for a long time to come.
We’re planning a mix of attendees, with varying profiles—senior technologists, researchers, programmers, educators, students, and perhaps others we don’t expect.
I’ve worked at Wolfram Research in the technical support area for several years—and have just been appointed manager of our new Technology Services group. Many times I’ve been pleased to be able to help our customers discover new aspects of Mathematica and our other technologies, and use them to move their projects forward.
But what’s most exciting is that “aha!” moment when someone realizes that with the Mathematica way of doing things they can suddenly take their project in a whole new direction. What I’m hoping to be able to do as the organizer of the Summer School is to give every attendee one of those aha! moments.
We’re expecting immensely diverse projects at the Summer School. And we’ve worked hard to design a scheme for the Summer School that’ll work for all these projects.To bring projects to fruition in only two weeks, there’ll have to be a really good strategy for each project. I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to recruit several of our top technical managers to help with this: Roger Germundsson (Director of R&D), Theodore Gray (Director of User Interface Technology), Peter Overmann (Director of Software Technology), and Tom Wickham-Jones (Director of Kernel Technology).
All these people work on development strategy at Wolfram Research every day, and they’re really good at it. Normally all their strategy efforts get used only on our internal projects: on moving forward Mathematica and our other technologies. At the Summer School there’s going to be a unique opportunity for attendees to get the benefit of their input.
Before the Summer School begins, for each attendee, based on the nature of their project, we’ll select one of these senior advisors. Then at the beginning of the Summer School, the attendees will meet with their advisors to map out the strategy for their projects. Attendees will also be assigned a mentor from our development team—who will work with them throughout the Summer School to help move their projects forward.
Each day there’ll be several hours of lectures and workshops, aimed at giving attendees a broad understanding of Mathematica technology and its capabilities. Then there will be one-on-one meetings with advisors and mentors. There will also be lots of lab time, with Mathematica gurus on hand to help with specific questions.
There’s considerable enthusiasm for the Summer School around our company. We all enjoy not only developing and supporting Mathematica but also using it. So we’re looking forward to the opportunity to see a diverse collection of Mathematica projects and applications—and to learn about all the different fields they involve.
Starting today, we will be accepting applications for the Summer School. To make possible the kind of one-on-one interactions we’re planning, we have to limit the number of attendees, so it’s important to apply as soon as possible if you want to enroll.
We’re all looking forward to the Summer School, and to all the exciting results and products that will come out of it.