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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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:
September 17, 2015 — Dana Flinn, Project Administrator, Public Relations
If you’ve ever hit a roadblock while learning to code, then you know the frustration of trying to find the best resource to help you out. We have good news. We are happy to announce that Christopher Wolfram, son of Wolfram Research’s founder, Stephen Wolfram, will be live-coding on Livecoding.tv. This new Y Combinator–backed coding platform brings programmers together to watch live streams of people coding real products.
Enhance your coding skills and learn directly from someone with the knowledge and expertise that results from working directly with Stephen Wolfram. Christopher’s presentation will focus on education analytics; users who tune in will see a firsthand demonstration of how to interact with datasets and visualizations in the Wolfram Language. The live streaming is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22 at 7pm CDT.
July 21, 2015 — Emily Suess, Technical Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group
Wolfram Community connects you with users from around the world who are doing fun, innovative, and useful things with the Wolfram Language. From game theory and connected devices to astronomy and design, here are a few posts you won’t want to miss.
Are you familiar with the Reddit 60-second button? The Reddit experiment was a countdown that would vanish if it ever reached zero. Clicking a button gave the countdown another 60 seconds. One Community post brings Wolfram Language visualization and analysis to Reddit’s experiment, which has sparked questions spanning game theory, community psychology, and statistics. David Gathercole started by importing a dataset from April 3 to May 20 into Mathematica and charted some interesting findings. See what he discovered and contribute your own ideas.
May 13, 2015 — Stephen Wolfram
“What is this a picture of?” Humans can usually answer such questions instantly, but in the past it’s always seemed out of reach for computers to do this. For nearly 40 years I’ve been sure computers would eventually get there—but I’ve wondered when.
I’ve built systems that give computers all sorts of intelligence, much of it far beyond the human level. And for a long time we’ve been integrating all that intelligence into the Wolfram Language.
Now I’m excited to be able to say that we’ve reached a milestone: there’s finally a function called ImageIdentify built into the Wolfram Language that lets you ask, “What is this a picture of?”—and get an answer.
And today we’re launching the Wolfram Language Image Identification Project on the web to let anyone easily take any picture (drag it from a web page, snap it on your phone, or load it from a file) and see what ImageIdentify thinks it is:
April 28, 2015 — Stephen Wolfram
My goal with the Wolfram Language is to take programming to a new level. And over the past year we’ve been rolling out ways to use and deploy the language in many places—desktop, cloud, mobile, embedded, etc. So what about wearables? And in particular, what about the Apple Watch? A few days ago I decided to explore what could be done. So I cleared my schedule for the day, and started writing code.
My idea was to write code with our standard Wolfram Programming Cloud, but instead of producing a web app or web API, to produce an app for the Apple Watch. And conveniently enough, a preliminary version of our Wolfram Cloud app just became available in the App Store—letting me deploy from the Wolfram Cloud to both mobile devices and the watch.