Wolfram Blog
Emily Suess

Wolfram Community Highlights: Animation, Chernoff Faces, Fingerprint ID, and More

June 14, 2016 — Emily Suess, Technical Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

Wolfram Community members continue to create amazing applications and visuals. Take a look at a few of our recent favorites.

Wolfram Language animations make it easier to understand and investigate concepts and phenomena. They’re also just plain fun. Among recent simple but stunning animations, you’ll find “Deformations of the Cairo Tiling” and “Contours of a Singular Surface” by Clayton Shonkwiler, a mathematician and artist interested in geometric models of physical systems, and “Transit of Mercury 2016” by Sander Huisman, a postdoc in Lyon, France, researching Lagrangian turbulence.

Recreation of the Cairo pentagonal tiling

In “Facing Your Data with Chernoff Faces,” Anton Antonov explores using face-like diagrams to visualize multidimensional data, a concept introduced by Herman Chernoff in 1973. The result is that each depiction “gives a face” to each record in the dataset.

Face-like diagrams to visualize multidimensional data

Parts like the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, and nose represent data values by their shape, size, and placement. Because humans easily recognize faces, it’s pretty easy to pick up on small changes in the depictions. Perhaps the biggest advantage of using Chernoff faces is discerning and classifying outliers in data.

Tushar Dwivedi, a student from the Wolfram Mentorships Program and High School Summer Camp, built a fingerprint identification and matching application using the Wolfram Cloud and the image processing framework in the Wolfram Language.

Fingerprint analysis

As Dwivedi points out, computational fingerprint analysis has been relevant in the field of criminology for a long time, but its applications are growing. For example, we now see it used in the fingerprint recognition functionality of smartphones. His example shows how the Wolfram Language makes it possible to detect fingerprints accurately, without specialized technology unavailable to the public.

Bianca Eifert, a PhD student from the University of Giessen, has designed a Wolfram Cloud–based application to view various crystal structures from VASP files. Currently working on a PhD in theoretical solid-state physics, she shows how she created her application, and provides sample VASP file content for you to grab.

Crystal structure viewer for VASP

Eifert’s earlier staff favorite, “Crystallica: A Package to Plot Crystal Structures,” is another to check out if you’re interested in crystal structures. It uses the Crystallica application available in the Wolfram Library Archive.

Dutch artist Theo Jansen is known for creating kinetic sculptures. His Strandbeest creations are wind-powered walking structures, and Community member Sander Huisman has animated the anatomy of Jansen’s beach beasts.

Animated anatomy of Jansen's beach beasts

In his post, Huisman invites others to animate the Strandbeest walking over bumpy terrain. We can’t wait to see what members contribute to the discussion.

Wolfram’s own Ed Pegg recently shared a popular article, “Squeezing Pi from a Menger Sponge,” which was featured on the standupmaths YouTube channel.

In the Menger sponge, a step divides a cube into 27 cubes. Then the center and six touching cubes are removed. In Pegg’s example, fractals of measure zero were taken and tweaked to get π. He asks if you can break the fractal into pieces and make a sphere. Be sure to share your response in the Community comment thread.

These impressive examples are just a sampling of the inventive things being done with the Wolfram Language. Visit Wolfram Community and subscribe to Staff Picks notifications for updates on all posts selected by our editorial team.

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