August 6, 2010 — Ed Pegg Jr, Editor, Wolfram Demonstrations Project

Pick some points at random. What can be said about them? What curves go through them? What polygons and polynomials can be made from them? Deep mathematics lurks behind these questions, but the answers can be explored just by moving points around within some Wolfram Demonstrations.

Simply by moving points you can see deep mathematics in action.

For example, “Five Points Determine a Conic Section” (Ed Pegg Jr and Paul Abbott) uses a matrix determinant on five points to produce an equation going through all five points.

Five Points Determine a Conic Section

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July 27, 2010 — Marty McKee, Copywriter

You already know that Mathematica can do anything technical—modeling, simulation, development, documentation, and so on.

But it’s also a great tool for relaxing. When you need to take a break from your engineering project or math homework, you don’t have to shut down Mathematica. Clear your head with one of these fun activities created by Mathematica users for the Wolfram Demonstrations Project.

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July 22, 2009 — George Beck, Scientific Information Group

Last week we proudly celebrated the milestone of 5,000 Demonstrations. As each one is a separate program, this represents a huge collaborative software development.

And now, every Demonstration has its preview animation available on YouTube. Each has a unique soundtrack created with variations on a custom WolframTones selection.

Some facts and figures: over the last year, there have been nearly 14 million visits to all Demonstrations pages, with 3.5 million unique visitors to the main site. As stated in the previous blog post, Demonstrations have been viewed over 6 million times. Over 1 million notebooks have been downloaded using the Mathematica Player and over half a million source notebooks have been downloaded.

Here are the top Demonstration topics:

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July 13, 2009 — Conrad Wolfram, Director of Strategic & International Development

Today we passed a remarkable milestone: the 5,000th Demonstration was published by the Wolfram Demonstrations Project, the free, interactive resource we created in 2007.

Selections from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project

Patterns from Math Rules Using Complex Numbers Quick Return Mechanism Table of Nuclides

This makes the Demonstrations Project the largest collection of open, instructional applets anywhere. And it’s also much needed proof that you can create a viable and vibrant technical publishing ecosystem based on interactive applications rather than dead documents—pivotal to moving technical communication into a major new era.

What’s the significance of this?

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May 28, 2009 — Nick Gaskill, Documentation Project Coordinator

Have you ever wanted a set of straightforward, step-by-step instructions for solving a problem or accomplishing a specific task with Mathematica? Have you ever thought that a Mathematica “quick-reference guide” would be useful? If so, take a look at the “How To” Topics in Version 7. “How tos” are a new type of documentation in Mathematica 7 that provide just the information you need without a lot of detailed background information.

This task-oriented approach makes these “How tos” ideal for those getting started with Mathematica. Some students, educators, researchers, and others that would benefit from using Mathematica feel that it would take too long to learn, or is just too complex to use. While this sentiment might seem reasonable given the computational power and breadth of features available in Mathematica, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

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March 12, 2009 — Joe Bolte, Director of Consulting, Wolfram Solutions

Recently, I had the pleasure of discussing some pieces of the Mathematica universe with distinguished scientists, forward-looking educators, and a lot of excitable kids at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Showing newcomers some of the magic we make here at Wolfram Research is always fun, and one of the best ways to introduce them to the types of things that we like to build is the Wolfram Demonstrations Project.

boltedemonstrationsblog1.jpg

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December 15, 2008 — Jeffrey Bryant, Scientific Information Group

Just a couple of weeks ago we released Mathematica 7. This week we’ve made the Wolfram Demonstrations Project live with Mathematica 7.

All the 4270 Demonstrations on the site run with Mathematica 7 (yes, we tested every single one of them, partly automatically, partly by hand).

And we added 147 new Demonstrations that specifically make use of Mathematica 7′s features.

Most of those Demonstrations were created internally within Wolfram Research, in a small frenzy of activity right around the actual release of Mathematica 7.

I was involved in organizing this Demonstrations-fest. It’s very impressive how quickly it’s possible to create so much high-quality material with Mathematica. Of course, it helped that we were able to work directly with the key developers of much of Mathematica 7′s functionality—so people were often creating Demonstrations based on the very features they had implemented in the system.

The new image processing system in Mathematica 7 was a particularly fertile source of Demonstrations. Charting, splines, and vector visualization are other areas that have spawned all sorts of interesting Demonstrations.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

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July 8, 2008 — Jessica Paris, Demonstrations Project Administration

As the project coordinator for The Wolfram Demonstrations Project, I’ve seen a lot of new exciting features we’ve been working on come to fruition recently and I want to tell you about them. I hear from a lot of our users, and want to let you know that we are listening to you and working on features that will make communicating your ideas, sharing your work, and learning about Demonstrations even easier. And trust me, even more features are coming!

Here are some of the most recent updates we’ve made to The Wolfram Demonstrations Project.

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June 4, 2008 — Dillon Tracy, Web Intelligence

Recent Demonstrations: Visual Encryption

When I was a kid, dinosaurs and secret codes were topics of surefire interest, since one was useful for eating your little sister and the other one for denying her the password to the clubhouse. I haven’t noticed any Demonstrations about dinosaurs yet (I continue to keep an eye out), but interesting ones about cryptography turn up regularly, including a couple of neat recent entries on visual encryption: Michael Schrieber’s Visual Encryption Pad and Paul van der Schaaf’s Graphical Modulo-4 Image Encryption.

One cipher (if you can call it that) common in my kiddie code books involved printing a message in red stipple overlaid with a noise field of blue stipple. You could use the piece of red cellophane included in the back of the book to mask out the blue part and reveal the secret message. The Visual Encryption Pad Demonstration is the sophisticated cousin of this scheme, involving the overlay of a random bit mask (the key) with another bit mask of the same size (the message). Applying a set of rules to the combination of bits at a given pixel (in the case of this Demonstration, XNOR) reveals the message, which might look like this:

Secret message revealed

If your spies in the field don’t have computers, and you are limited to passing around messages on microfilm or something, then the only bit-combination rule set you will be able to use is OR. And of course your messages are limited to one bit per pixel. The Graphical Modulo-4 Image Encryption scheme, on the other hand, can encode more than one bit per pixel, even on physical media. Let me quote some snippets of the Demonstration’s code and describe how they work, and then I’ll discuss a couple of extensions that suggest themselves.

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May 22, 2008 — André Kuzniarek, Director of Document and Media Systems

There are a lot of interesting features hidden “under the hood” of the Wolfram Demonstrations authoring notebook, and most of them are new to Mathematica 6. The authoring notebook acts as a stand-alone form, and not only represents a simple new way to standardize information for systematic deployment, but also offers a convenient basis for sharing these subtle but powerful new technical details.

I’m excited by any new features that enhance the document creation process in Mathematica. As an 18-year veteran of the company, I’ve interacted with the notebook front end since Version 2, and have been contributing to the interface and documentation systems since Version 3. I’ve recently taken on new responsibilities for managing some of our web applications, particularly online forms for both internal business and external customer interactions, and I’m eager to insert notebook-based source material and Mathematica controller logic into these systems. We have already done so with the Wolfram Mathematica Documentation Center and The Wolfram Demonstrations Project. Of all these systems, Demonstrations are the most visible to our users from their starting point through administrative stages to ultimate deployment, so let’s dissect the Demonstrations authoring form to expose its hidden talents.

If you haven’t done so already, you can open the authoring notebook from Mathematica‘s File menu:

File > New > Demonstration

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