February 3, 2016 — Bernat Espigulé-Pons, Consultant, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

When I hear about something like January’s United States blizzard, I remember the day I was hit by the discovery of an infinitely large family of Koch-like snowflakes.

The Koch snowflake (shown below) is a popular mathematical curve and one of the earliest fractal curves to have been described. It’s easy to understand because you can construct it by starting with a regular hexagon, removing the inner third of each side, building an equilateral triangle at the location where the side was removed, and then repeating the process indefinitely:

Koch snowflakes

If you isolate the hexagon’s lower side in the process above you’ll get the Koch curve, described in a 1904 paper by Helge von Koch (1870–1924). It has a long history that goes back way before the age of computer graphics. See, for example, this handmade drawing by the French mathematician Paul Lévy (1886–1971):

Handmade drawing by the French mathematician Paul Lévy

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December 18, 2015 — Eila Stiegler, Quality Analysis Manager, Wolfram|Alpha Quality Analysis

It has been quite a while since I graduated from college in Germany with a degree in mathematics. Of course, I have plenty of memories of long study nights, difficult homework assignments, and a general lack of a social life. But I also vividly remember having to take programming classes. I had done my best to avoid these for as long as I could. But when they became part of my curriculum, I could not continue ignoring them. Not being a native English speaker, I was not just dealing with the concept of programming, which was completely abstract to me—I also had to find my way around function names always given in English. Though I struggled in those classes, I successfully graduated, and years later am now part of a project that would have helped me tremendously back then: the Wolfram Language Worldwide Translations Project.

The Wolfram Language Worldwide Translations Project provides any non-English-speaking programming novice with an effortless way into the Wolfram Language. It aims to introduce the Wolfram Language while at the same time addressing any lack of English language skills.

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