November 9, 2016 — Christopher Carlson, Senior User Interface Developer, User Interfaces

Could you fit the code for a fully functional game of Pong into a single tweet? One that gives you more points the more you take your chances in letting the “ball” escape? Philip Maymin did, and took first prize with that submission in the One-Liner Competition held at this year’s Wolfram Technology Conference.

Participants in the competition submit 128 or fewer tweetable characters of Wolfram Language code to perform the most impressive computation they can dream up. We had a bumper crop of entries this year that showed the surprising power of the Wolfram Language. You might think that after decades of experience creating and developing with the Wolfram Language, we at Wolfram Research would have seen and thought of it all. But every year our conference attendees surprise us. Read on to see the amazing effects you can achieve with a tweet of Wolfram Language code.

Honorable Mention
Amy Friedman: “The Song Titles” (110 characters)

Friedman's Submission

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November 4, 2016 — Zach Littrell, Technical Content Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

Here are just a handful of things I heard while attending my first Wolfram Technology Conference:

  • “We had a nearly 4-billion-time speedup on this code example.”
  • “We’ve worked together for over 9 years, and now we’re finally meeting!”
  • “Coding in the Wolfram Language is like collaborating with 200 or 300 experts.”
  • “You can turn financial data into rap music. Instead, how about we turn rap music into financial data?”

As a first-timer from the Wolfram Blog Team attending the Technology Conference, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights for me—making new friends, watching Wolfram Language experts code and seeing what the Wolfram family has been up to around the world this past year.

Images from the 2016 Wolfram Tech Conference

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October 27, 2016 — John Moore, Wolfram Blog Team

Software engineer and longtime Mathematica user Chad Slaughter uses the Wolfram Language to facilitate interdepartmental communication during software development. While most programming languages are designed to do one thing particularly well, developers like Slaughter often find that the Wolfram Language is more versatile: “With traditional C++, in order to develop a program, it’s going to take several hundred lines of code to do anything interesting. With Mathematica, I can do something interesting in less than five lines of code.”

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August 26, 2016 — Zach Littrell, Technical Content Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

We are constantly surprised by what fascinating applications and topics Wolfram Language experts are writing about, and we’re happy to again share with you some of these amazing authors’ works. With topics ranging from learning to use the Wolfram Language on a Raspberry Pi to a groundbreaking book with a novel approach to calculations, you are bound to find a publication perfect for your interests.

Getting Started with Wolfram Language and Mathematica for Raspberry Pi, Essentials of Programming in Mathematica, Geospatial Algebraic Computations, Theory and Applications

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August 22, 2016 — Ishwarya Vardhani, Educational Partnerships

Are you a teacher who’s been asked “Why am I learning this?”, “How is this going to help me in real life?” and other variations of this question by your students? I know that I faced this when I was teaching, and it can be tough to provide a satisfactory response. However, being able to address this issue is critical in the classroom. We believe that Wolfram|Alpha provides one way to do so.

The Wolfram Knowledgebase, our ever-growing repository of curated computable data, gives you instant access to trillions of data elements across thousands of domains. With Wolfram|Alpha, you can query these data points using natural language (plain English) right in your classroom.

By using real-world data, students have the opportunity to direct their learning toward areas that they care about. In the economics classroom, you can discuss GDP using data about real countries, data that is current and citable. Explore Wolfram|Alpha’s trove of socioeconomic data that will open multiple areas of inquiry in the classroom. A wonderful side effect that I’ve found with using a tool like Alpha is that it also teaches you to pose queries intelligently. Being able to carefully construct a problem is an integral step in the process of thinking critically.

Join us for a special training event on August 24 to learn more about using Wolfram|Alpha in the classroom. This session in the Wolfram|Alpha for Educators: Webinar Training Series will focus on the economics classroom. Previous sessions in this series focused on calculus and physics classrooms, and you can watch our past event recordings online.

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April 15, 2016 — Eila Stiegler, Quality Analysis Manager, Wolfram|Alpha Quality Analysis

It’s four months into the new year. Spring is here. Well, so they say. And if the temperatures do not convince you, the influx of the number of runners on our roads definitely should. I have always loved running. Despite the fact that during each mile I complain about various combinations of the weather, the mileage, and my general state of mind, I met up with 37,000 other runners for the Chicago Marathon on October 11, 2015. As it turns out, this single event makes for a great example to explore what the Wolfram Language can do with larger datasets. The data we are using below is available on the Chicago Marathon results website.

This marathon is one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors: the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW Berlin, Bank of America Chicago, and TCS New York City marathons. If you are looking for things to add to your bucket list, I believe these are great candidates. Given the international appeal, let’s have a look at the runners’ nationalities and their travel paths. Our GeoGraphics functionality easily enables us to do so. Clearly many people traveled very far to participate:

GeoGraphics shows where runners have traveled from

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March 2, 2016 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist

An investigation of the golden ratio’s appearance in the position of human faces in paintings and photographs.

There is a vast amount of literature on the appearance of the golden ratio in nature, in physiology and psychology, and in human artifacts (see this page on the golden ratio; these articles on the golden ratio in art, in nature, and in the human body; and this paper on the structure of the creative process in science and art). In the past thirty years, there has been increasing skepticism about the prevalence of the golden ratio in these domains. Earlier studies have been revisited or redone. See, for example, Foutakis, Markowsky on Greek temples, Foster et al., Holland, Benjafield, and Svobodova et al. for human physiology.

In my last blog, I analyzed the aspect ratios of more than one million old and new paintings. Based on psychological experiments from the second half of the nineteenth century, especially by Fechner in the 1870s, one would expect many paintings to have a height-to-width ratio equal to the golden ratio or its inverse. But the large sets of paintings analyzed did not confirm such a conjecture.

While we did not find the expected prevalence of the golden ratio in external measurements of paintings, maybe looking “inside” will show signs of the golden ratio (or its inverse)?

In today’s blog, we will analyze collections of paintings, photographs, and magazine covers that feature human faces. We will also analyze where human faces appear in a few selected movies.

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December 23, 2015 — Kathryn Cramer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

With some impressive new features, new forums, and many new members, Wolfram Community has had a great year. As we approach the end of 2015, we wanted to share a few highlights from the last few months’ excellent posts on the Wolfram Community site.

Drones

Interested in drones? Check out these posts.

Connecting ROS to the Wolfram Language, Or Controlling a Parrot ArDrone 2.0 from Mathematica, by Loris Gliner, a student in aeronautical engineering.

Loris with drone

Loris Gliner used his time in the Wolfram mentorship program to work out how to connect the Wolfram Language to the Linux Robot Operating System. He includes code examples and a video showing the flight of a Parrot ArDrone 2.0 controlled via the Wolfram Language.

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December 4, 2015 — Bernat Espigulé-Pons, Consultant, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

About a year ago, I decided to record every single move I make using Runkeeper, and now I want to make some visualizations of my activity throughout the whole year. This is a fairly straightforward project where I will download the data from Runkeeper, then use the Wolfram Language to process, analyze, and visualize my activities. I will show how to create animations like this one that superimposes 24 minutes of all my activities recorded in Barcelona:

Runkeeper Barcelona GPS

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November 18, 2015 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist

Paintings of the great masters are among the most beautiful human artifacts ever produced. They are treasured and admired, carefully preserved, sold for hundreds of millions of dollars, and, perhaps not coincidentally, are the prime target of art thieves. Their composition, colors, details, and themes can fascinate us for hours. But what about their outer shape—the ratio of a painting’s height to its width?

In 1876, the German scientist Gustav Theodor Fechner studied human responses to rectangular shapes, concluding that rectangles with an aspect ratio equal to the golden ratio are most pleasing to the human eye. To validate his experimental observations, Fechner also analyzed the aspect ratios of more than ten thousand paintings.

We can find out more about Fechner with the following piece of code:

Using WikipediaData to learn more about Fechner

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