Wolfram Blog
Abigail Nussey

Explore the Computational Universe at NKS Summer School 2011

March 25, 2011 — Abigail Nussey, Wolfram Science Summer School Event Director

There’s still time to apply to NKS Summer School 2011, a complex systems research school based on Stephen Wolfram’s seminal tract on the subject, A New Kind of Science (NKS), published in 2002. The first NKS Summer School was held soon after the book’s publication, and, this summer, Wolfram Research will host its 9th annual program, centered on doing research on the topics and methods introduced by the book. The 2011 NKS Summer School is being held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA from June 27 through July 15, 2011. The concepts introduced in NKS have already made significant contributions to research and technological innovation. Taking a look at Wolfram|Alpha’s About page, we see that ideas from NKS were crucial in the development of the computational knowledge engine:

Beyond Mathematica, another key to Wolfram|Alpha was A New Kind of Science (NKS). Many specific ideas from NKS—particularly related to algorithms discovered by exploring the computational universe—are used in the implementation of Wolfram|Alpha. But still more important is that the very paradigm of NKS was crucial in imagining that Wolfram|Alpha might be possible.

For many more examples of NKS in cutting-edge research, browse through the archives of the journal of Complex Systems or play with any one of the hundreds of Demonstrations illustrating or built using NKS concepts. If you look a bit more carefully, you’ll notice that NKS doesn’t just excel in computation or linguistics, but also in architecture, law, economics, finance, agent-based modeling, ecology, mathematics, physics, and music. Here’s one of my favorite Demonstrations, Simulating Flickering Fire with Noisy Cellular Automaton (authored by Vitaliy Kaurov, a 2010 NKS Summer School alumnus):

Simulating Flickering Fire with Noisy Cellular Automaton

Our alumni represent a diverse set of ages and specialties. While the bulk of our students are in graduate school or beyond, we have had numerous undergraduates, professionals, artists, and even the occasional exceptional high schooler. If you are interested in NKS and have read the book, we encourage you to apply!

Want to learn more about NKS?

Posted in: Education
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One Comment


S Lee

Hi Abby, I came across your blog just now from referral from a prof in psychology and statistics. I thought it would be interesting if not informative to go to a summer school. However, given the short time and my wonder as to whether I would be qualitied, even if I attempted to read the book etc from today, I probably would not be ready to do a project.

My background is in health science, being a pharmacist, dentist, educator, and also interests in psychology and interdisciplinary studies. However, I have only taken one Fortran course and some math courses in first and second year university over a decade ago. I wonder if it would be better to wait to next year and/or get ready by reading the book etc.

I wonder if I may be able to shadow the course or if you think that I should purchase the related materials to study for the next summer school. I think that I have some interesting ideas for research that I like to do at a university. This appears to be an exciting area, although my experience in compulation is perhaps limited.

Thanks for your consideration.

Sonny Lee

Posted by S Lee    April 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm


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