June 1, 2011 — Andrew Moylan, Technical Communication & Strategy
Recently I found myself reading about “subitizing”, which is the process of instinctively counting small sets of items in a fraction of second. For example, try quickly counting a few of these:
The Wikipedia article indicates that you can nearly always correctly count four or fewer items in a small fraction of a second. Above four, you start to make mistakes. I wanted to test this claim in Mathematica (using myself as the test subject). I decided to create a simple game in which small groups of items are momentarily displayed on the screen, after which players estimate how many they saw.
December 17, 2010 — Christopher Carlson, Technical Communication & Strategy
Write a simulation of spherical particles coalescing under gravitational attraction. Limit the approach distance by a secondary repulsive force that acts over short distances. Produce an animation of the dynamic system starting with 15 particles in randomized positions.
Formulate your solution in 140 characters or less.
Sound challenging? A 138-character solution was Stephan Leibbrandt’s winning entry in the Mathematica One-Liner Competition that was a part of this year’s Wolfram Technology Conference.
December 14, 2010 — Ed Pegg Jr, Editor, Wolfram Demonstrations Project
Editorial note: A future post will explore some of the contributions to the visual arts and media facilitated by Mathematica.
The year 1982 saw a lot of important movies: Blade Runner, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Thing, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Pink Floyd The Wall, First Blood, Conan the Barbarian, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Dark Crystal, and TRON.
I used Mathematica functionality to turn the TRON logo into something you can manipulate. You can download my notebook to play with the logo. (Mathematica Home Edition could be used to do this as well.)
October 29, 2010 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development
With Halloween approaching, I thought that I would plumb new depths in frivolous uses of Mathematica by making some scary pumpkin movies. Woooo!
If your nerves can take the sheer horror of it all, turn the lights down and dare to read on…
October 19, 2010 — Darren Glosemeyer, Lead Statistics Developer
As a society, we seem to love data. We slice it, dice it, aggregate it, and analyze it. It tells us about the people, places, and things around us and around the world. It informs public policies and the public.
It’s easy to take for granted official statistics collected and presented by government agencies or statistics collected by non-governmental curators, because data seems to be everywhere, but it’s important to remember that it takes a huge amount of work to collect that data and provide it in a usable form. World Statistics Day is a good time to remember that hard work and the impact information from the collected data has on our daily life.
October 5, 2010 — Ed Pegg Jr, Editor, Wolfram Demonstrations Project
I recently was asked about Fibonacci Day. I think I replied “What is Fibonacci Day?” Then the person explained it. November 23 is 11/23. Or 1, 1, 2, 3—the start of the Fibonacci sequence.
Other yearly math-related days I found were Pi Day (3/14), Foursquare Day (4/16), Pi Approximation Day (22/7, in European format), Opposite Day (12/21), and Mole Day (6:02 10/23).
A lot of these seem a bit arbitrary. I thought I might be able to do better, so here’s what I came up with for the month of September.
September 7, 2010 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development
A while ago, Randall posted a strip with a self-referential chart of the amount of black ink in the image.
August 13, 2010 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development
A simple question from a six-year-old about hangman turned into another analysis obsession that made me play 15 million games of hangman recently.
Back in 2007, I wrote a game of hangman for a human guesser on the train journey from Oxford to London. I spent the time on the London Underground thinking about optimal strategies for playing it, and wrote the version for the computer doing the guessing on the return journey. It successfully guessed my test words and I was satisfied, so I submitted both to the Wolfram Demonstrations Project. Now, three years later, my daughter is old enough to play, but the Demonstration annoys her, as it can always guess her words. She asked the obvious question that never occurred to me at the time: “What are the hardest words I can choose, so that I can beat it?”
July 29, 2010 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development
My mother has a theory: “The nicest weather is when you are at work, and then it rains on the weekend.” Hearing this from her once again, I think it is time to expose her theory to the facts and prove her wrong.
We’ll start by setting up some tools to help retrieve and categorize the data in terms of the type of day. In the United Kingdom, the weekend is Saturday and Sunday.
July 8, 2010 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development
I was reading about the IT problems of the recently arrested, alleged Russian spies, and I wondered if they could have managed secret communications better with Mathematica.
One of the claims was that they were using digital steganography tools that kept crashing. I wanted to see how quickly I could implement digital image steganography in Mathematica using a method known as “least significant bit insertion”.
The idea of steganography is to hide messages within other information so that no one notices your communications. The word itself comes from a Latin-Greek combination meaning “covered writing”, from earlier physical methods that apparently included tattooing a message on a messenger’s head before letting him grow his hair back to hide it. In the case of digital steganography, it is all done in the math.