November 14, 2012 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development
Update: See our latest post on How the Wolfram Language Measures Up.
I stumbled upon a nice project called Rosetta Code. Their stated aim is “to present solutions to the same task in as many different languages as possible, to demonstrate how languages are similar and different, and to aid a person with a grounding in one approach to a problem in learning another.”
After amusing myself by contributing a few solutions (Flood filling, Mean angle, and Sum digits of an integer being some of mine), I realized that the data hidden in the site provided an opportunity to quantify a claim that I have often made over the years—that Mathematica code tends to be shorter than equivalent code in other languages. This is due to both its high-level nature and built-in computational knowledge.
Here is what I found.
Mathematica code is typically less than a third of the length of the same tasks written in other languages, and often much better.
November 1, 2012 — Wolfram Blog Team
For Daniel Zicha, head of Light Microscopy at Cancer Research UK, Mathematica is the ultimate tool for biomedical research because it’s “quick to develop and then quick to test and visualize the results conveniently and interactively.”
Zicha uses Mathematica in the development of light microscopy techniques as well as in collaborative research in applications of image processing and analysis methods.
Within his collaborative research work in the area of metastasis, Zicha’s use of Mathematica to visualize and qualitatively analyze cell morphology led to the discovery of a novel metastasis suppressor. In this video, he describes Mathematica‘s role in the project and the advantages of having one environment for rapid prototyping, qualitative analysis, and interactive visualization.
August 10, 2012 — Wolfram Blog Team
At the last two annual Wolfram Technology Conferences, attendees have enjoyed amazing, and being amazed by, each other in the One-Liner Competition, which challenges participants to show us the most astounding things they can do with 140 characters or less of Mathematica code. And each time we have been surprised, inspired, and gratified by their creativity.
Now we’ve opened up the competition to you, and Mathematica users from around the world are sending us their submissions. In a Mathematica Experts Live broadcast on August 21, we’ll reveal the winner and runners-up of the competition, show you what they did, and explain how they did it. You’ll see applications you probably never thought possible, learn new Mathematica tricks and techniques, and have your socks blown off by elegant programming wizardry.
July 17, 2012 — Wolfram Blog Team
It’s back! The only event in which Mathematica experts are live on camera to answer your questions: Mathematica Experts Live.
The first Mathematica Experts Live virtual event was such a popular success that we’re doing it again. Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. Many of you asked for help with dynamic interfaces, so this time Mathematica experts will answer questions about interactivity. We’ll be ready to answer questions similar to:
- How do you add a constraint to a Dynamic?
- My Dynamic is slow. How can I make it faster?
- What is the difference between Module and DynamicModule?
- How do you change the visual appearance of a button?
- How can I make custom controls?
Although the format is the same as before, this event will be 30 minutes longer. Our host will accept questions in real time and pass them to three of our user interface experts. You can also submit your question when you register for the event.
July 11, 2012 — Wolfram Blog Team
As a PhD candidate in civil engineering, Diego Oviedo-Salcedo needed a computational environment that he could use to not only explore the abstract concepts within his civil engineering research, but also to present and communicate his findings to his advisor, peers, and decision-makers. His solution: Mathematica.
Mathematica‘s enhanced built-in statistical analysis capabilities allow Oviedo-Salcedo to instantly test different ideas and methods related to assessing the impact of uncertain physical and hydrological sources on river and aquifer interactions.
In addition, Mathematica‘s easy-to-author interactivity helps him communicate his results with dynamic models—a feature that’s proven to be eye-opening within his department.
May 7, 2012 — Wolfram Blog Team
It’s been one year since we launched our Twitter feed for bite-sized Mathematica hints and tips!
Thousands of people follow @MathematicaTip to get a new tip every day, Monday through Friday, covering everything from keyboard shortcuts:
Instead of using % to refer to the most recent output, try Ctrl+Shift+L (Mac: Cmd+Shift+L) to directly insert the output from above.
— MathematicaTip (@MathematicaTip) October 10, 2011
December 7, 2011 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development
When people tell me that Mathematica isn’t fast enough, I usually ask to see the offending code and often find that the problem isn’t a lack in Mathematica‘s performance, but sub-optimal use of Mathematica. I thought I would share the list of things that I look for first when trying to optimize Mathematica code.
1. Use floating-point numbers if you can, and use them early.
Of the most common issues that I see when I review slow code is that the programmer has inadvertently asked Mathematica to do things more carefully than needed. Unnecessary use of exact arithmetic is the most common case.
In most numerical software, there is no such thing as exact arithmetic. 1/3 is the same thing as 0.33333333333333. That difference can be pretty important when you hit nasty, numerically unstable problems, but in the majority of tasks, floating-point numbers are good enough and, importantly, much faster. In Mathematica any number with a decimal point and less than 16 digits of input is automatically treated as a machine float, so always use the decimal point if you want speed ahead of accuracy (e.g. enter a third as 1./3.). Here is a simple example where working with floating-point numbers is nearly 50.6 times faster than doing the computation exactly and then converting the result to a decimal afterward. And in this case it gets the same result.
September 22, 2009 — Brenton Bostick, Kernel Technology
webMathematica 3, the new version released on September 15, introduces several new features such as a web version of the popular Manipulate command and a way to evaluate Mathematica code asynchronously, without delaying page loading.
September 3, 2009 — Theodore Gray, Co-founder, Wolfram Research, Inc; Founder, Touch Press; Proprietor, periodictable.com
Longtime Mathematica user Flip Phillips recently sent us this tremendously amusing error message generated by Mathematica. Much as you might think when stumbling upon a pickup truck hanging from a tree, your first reaction is probably, “How does something like that even happen??”
January 21, 2009 — Eric Schulz, Consultant
I have taught collegiate mathematics for more than 20 years and have used Mathematica for 15 or so of these years to explore, learn, and teach. For the last eight years Mathematica has been my primary tool to write all of my exams, handouts, letters, reports, papers, presentations, and even a complete electronic textbook. New features introduced recently have been revolutionary in the teaching and learning environment and make possible the creation of materials that integrate text, typeset mathematics, and interactive figures, which can be created efficiently and used effectively in ways not possible with other software tools.
For faculty and students to benefit from using Mathematica in the teaching and learning process, they must be able to use Mathematica sufficiently well to remain focused on course concepts and not become frustrated by the technology. Without question, the main challenge I face teaching new users how to use Mathematica is helping them master the task of creating syntactically correct commands, followed closely by the challenge of teaching how to use Mathematica to write rich documents that combine text, typeset mathematics, and figures.
When the use of technology gets in the way of the teaching, learning, and writing about content, which should remain the focus of academic learning, then all involved in the teaching and learning process experience frustration! If enough example commands are provided, if the ways of Mathematica are carefully explained, and if patient help is readily available, then some new users are able work their way up the learning curve and reach a point where they can focus on the subject matter and are able to comfortably use Mathematica to explore, learn, teach, and write about the concepts. Members of this group are often able to independently deepen their understanding and use of Mathematica by relying on the Wolfram Mathematica Documentation Center and other resources; but not enough new users reach this level of Mathematica knowledge and thus do not experience firsthand the marvelous capabilities of Mathematica to explore, investigate, learn, teach, and write about interesting ideas!