August 19, 2014 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist
In today’s blog post, we will use some of the new features of the Wolfram Language, such as language processing, geometric regions, map-making capabilities, and deploying forms to analyze and visualize the distribution of beer breweries and whiskey distilleries in the US. In particular, we want to answer the core question: for which fraction of the US is the nearest brewery further away than the nearest distillery?
Disclaimer: you may read, carry out, and modify inputs in this blog post independent of your age. Hands-on taste tests might require a certain minimal legal age (check your countries’ and states’ laws).
We start by importing two images from Wikipedia to set the theme; later we will use them on maps.
August 7, 2014 — Jeffrey Bryant, Scientific Information Group
We are reposting this blog post due to the ESA’s success yesterday, August 6, 2014.
We recently posted a blog entry celebrating the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. Now, just a couple weeks later, we are preparing for another first: the European Space Agency’s attempt to orbit and then land on a comet. The Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004 with the ultimate goal of orbiting and landing on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Since the launch, Rosetta has already flown by asteroid Steins, in 2008, and asteroid 21 Lutetia, in 2010.
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have a long history of sending probes to other solar system bodies that then orbit those bodies. The bodies have usually been nice, well-behaved, and spherical, making orbital calculations a fairly standard thing. But, as Rosetta recently started to approach comet 67P, we began to get our first views of this alien world. And it is far from spherical.
August 1, 2014 — Arnoud Buzing, Director of Quality and Release Management
Today I’m happy to announce an update for Mathematica and the Wolfram Language for the Raspberry Pi that brings those new features to the Raspberry Pi. To get the new version of the Wolfram Language, simply run this command in a terminal on your Raspberry Pi:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install wolfram-engine
This new version will also be pre-installed in the next release of NOOBS, the easy setup system for the Raspberry Pi.
July 22, 2014 — Wolfram Blog
Photography by Tracy Howl and Paul Clarke
Has our newfound massive availability of data improved decisions and lead to better democracy around the world? Most would say, “It’s highly questionable.”
Conrad Wolfram’s TEDx UK Parliament talk poses this question and explains how computation can be key to the answer, bridging the divide between availability and practical accessibility of data, individualized answers, and the democratization of new knowledge generation. This transformation will be critical not only to government efficiency and business effectiveness—but will fundamentally affect education, society, and democracy as a whole.
Wolfram|Alpha and Mathematica 10 demos feature throughout—including a live Wolfram Language generated tweet.
June 26, 2014 — Etienne Bernard
Find out Etienne’s initial predictions by visiting last week’s World Cup blog post.
The World Cup is half-way through: the group phase is over, and the knockout phase is beginning. Let’s update the winning probabilities for the remaining teams, and analyze how our classifier performed on the group-phase matches.
From the 32 initial teams, 16 are qualified for the knockout phase:
June 23, 2014 — Stephen Wolfram
Twenty-six years ago today we launched Mathematica 1.0. And I am excited that today we have what I think is another historic moment: the launch of Wolfram Programming Cloud—the first in a sequence of products based on the new Wolfram Language.
My goal with the Wolfram Language in general—and Wolfram Programming Cloud in particular—is to redefine the process of programming, and to automate as much as possible, so that once a human can express what they want to do with sufficient clarity, all the details of how it is done should be handled automatically.
June 20, 2014 — Etienne Bernard
Check out Etienne’s updated predictions from Thursday, June 26 here.
The FIFA World Cup is underway. From June 12 to July 13, 32 national football teams play against each other to determine the FIFA world champion for the next four years. Who will succeed? Experts and fans all have their opinions, but is it possible to answer this question in a more scientific way? Football is an unpredictable sport: few goals are scored, the supposedly weaker team often manages to win, and referees make mistakes. Nevertheless, by investigating the data of past matches and using the new machine learning functions of the Wolfram Language Predict and Classify, we can attempt to predict the outcome of matches.
The first step is to gather data. FIFA results will soon be accessible from Wolfram|Alpha, but for now we have to do it the hard way: scrape the data from the web. Fortunately, many websites gather historical data (www.espn.co.uk, www.rsssf.com, www.11v11.com, etc.) and all the scraping and parsing can be done with Wolfram Language functions. We first stored web pages locally using URLSave and then imported these pages using Import[myfile,"XMLObject"] (and Import[myfile,"Hyperlinks"] for the links). Using XML objects allows us to keep the structure of the page, and the content can be parsed using Part and pattern-matching functions such as Cases. After the scraping, we cleaned and interpreted the data: for example, we had to infer the country from a large number of cities and used Interpreter to do so:
From scraping various websites, we obtained a dataset of about 30,000 international matches of 203 teams from 1950 to 2014 and 75,000 players. Loaded into the Wolfram Language, its size is about 200MB of data. Here is a match and a player example stored in a Dataset:
June 4, 2014 — Wolfram Blog
Back in 2012, Jon McLoone wrote a program that analyzed the coding examples of over 500 programming languages that were compiled on the wiki site Rosetta Code. He compared the programming language of Mathematica (now officially named the Wolfram Language) to 14 of the most popular and relevant languages, and found that most programs can be written in the Wolfram Language with 1/2 to 1/10 as much code—even as tasks become larger and more complex.
We were curious to see how the Wolfram Language continues to stack up, since a lot has happened in the last two years. So we updated and re-ran Jon’s code, and, much to our excitement (though we really weren’t all that surprised), the Wolfram Language remains largely superior by all accounts!
Keep in mind that the programming tasks at Rosetta Code are the typical kinds of exercises that you can write in conventional programming languages: editing text, implementing quicksort, or solving the Towers of Hanoi. You wouldn’t even think of dashing off a program in C to do handwriting recognition, yet that’s a one-liner in the Wolfram Language. And since the Wolfram Language’s ultra-high-level constructs are designed to match the way people think about solving problems, writing programs in it is usually easier than in other languages. In spite of the Rosetta Code tasks being relatively low-level applications, the Wolfram Language still wins handily on code length compared to every other language.
Here’s the same graph as in Jon’s 2012 post comparing the Wolfram Language to C. Each point gives the character counts of the same task programmed in the Wolfram Language and C. Notice the Wolfram Language still remains shorter for almost every task, staying mostly underneath the dashed one-to-one line:
The same holds true for Python:
May 30, 2014 — Wolfram Blog
Donald Barnhart is a self-proclaimed mad optical scientist and independent business owner. He’s been developing optical design and analysis software in Mathematica since 1991, he’s the creator of the popular Optica software package, and he’s the developer of the first successful high-resolution holographic instrument that measures three-dimensional velocity fields in fluids.
Now Barnhart has another invention to add to his list of accomplishments: a totally new kind of photo album called the SlideOScope.
May 28, 2014 — Wolfram Blog
Touch Press recently announced its newest title, Incredible Numbers, by Ian Stewart. The rich interactive explorations in the ebook were prototyped in the Wolfram Language by Phil Ramsden, who is a Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London and a Mathematica trainer. We asked him to relate his experience here.
Ian Stewart’s mathematical imagination is boundless. There are few areas of the subject that haven’t been illuminated, for a general readership, by his gift for clear and vivid exposition. So when Ian, Touch Press, and Profile Books decided to create something interactive, they needed a development and prototyping environment in which you can do pretty much anything; a mere specialist application wasn’t going to cut it. That’s where the Wolfram Language came in and, happily for me, where I did too.
The Wolfram Language provides an environment in which you can do pretty much anything, and do it quickly. The reason that the Wolfram Language is such a “game-changer” is that where interactive content is concerned, it takes us into a world where an idea (such as one of Ian’s) can become a working prototype in no time.