February 26, 2016 — Emily Suess, Technical Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

Kip Thorne, physicist, New York Times bestselling author, and professor emeritus at Caltech, ignited fans’ passion for science through his work on the movie Interstellar. The sci-fi adventure won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and the first cuts of some of those stunning visuals were created with Mathematica and the Wolfram Language.

“Mathematica was my way of testing whether or not I had the equations right,” says Thorne, whose computational approach to producing images led to publication in the American Journal of Physics and Classical and Quantum Gravity.

Gravitational lensing of the Prawn Nebula by a black hole

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February 25, 2016 — Adriana Rose, Business Development, Partnerships

For the last few days, we’ve been discussing Wolfram Programming Lab and how it is a tool for those teachers looking to incorporate coding into their computational classrooms. Today is the last day of the series, and I’m going to talk about the experiences I’ve had with Programming Lab. What I’ve seen from numerous workshops is that adopting a computational thinking approach increases engagement and supports creativity in the classroom. Having an engaged classroom is paramount; otherwise, teachers risk students falling into a dangerous spiral of disinterest that prevents them from learning and is likely to cause classroom management problems. Programming Lab gives teachers the ammunition to fight boredom and create exciting lesson plans.

My colleague Ishwarya and I have been visiting elementary, middle, and high schools for the past couple of years to teach workshops of various lengths. It’s been such a help to have the Wolfram Language in the cloud. Without downloading any software, students are able to go to a website and start programming immediately. I usually start off my workshops with the Getting Started and Draw a Sphere Explorations. Here are some of the kids that I’ve worked with in the past year or so:

Students working with Wolfram Programming Lab

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February 23, 2016 — Ishwarya Vardhani, Evangelist, Partnerships

I hope you’re enjoying the Wolfram Programming Lab series. Today I will be sharing more classroom experiences using Programming Lab and what it makes possible. I will also describe the resources available to interested educators. So let’s get started!

One of the local middle schools here in Champaign-Urbana conducts a community enrichment program for its students. When we heard about this, we knew that we wanted to participate and continue investing in our local community and school districts. So I’ve been working with a group of sixth graders for the past few weeks.

One of my favorite things about Programming Lab is that it can be accessed directly from a web browser, making workshops run smoothly without needing to download software. Once students create a free account in Programming Lab, all their work is automatically saved and they can always go back to it. And some always do! I love it when students come up to me and say they tried to do something and it worked, or ask for my help when it didn’t. Both of these feel awesome, as every teacher knows.

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February 18, 2016 — Adriana Rose, Business Development, Partnerships

Today is the second post in our Wolfram Programming Lab series, and I’ll be highlighting how the Wolfram Language supports the development of computational thinking skills for almost any subject matter. Students solidify concepts and practices by making connections to all of their subjects, not just a few here and there. By incorporating computational thinking across the curriculum, teachers give their students an opportunity to develop twenty-first-century skills to automate processes and solve messy problems with real-world data. In this blog post, I’ll take a look at several Explorations in Wolfram Programming Lab to show the possibilities of programming in the Wolfram Language.

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February 16, 2016 — Ishwarya Vardhani, Evangelist, Partnerships

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts on experiencing Wolfram Programming Lab. In this series, my colleague and I will share our thoughts on using Wolfram Programming Lab as a tool to develop a computational thinking mindset in students. Modern industry has recognized a serious lack of problem solving and critical thinking in recent graduates. In a world going digital, there is an ever-increasing demand for a curriculum that is current and equips students with skills they need to succeed outside the classroom. Adding a computational thinking approach in the classroom addresses these issues. With Wolfram Programming Lab, injecting computational thinking activities to support the curriculum has never been easier. In fact, with the tools and methods we are going to describe in this series, it is possible to do this across a wide range of subjects, not just math and computer science.

Wolfram Programming Lab is an immersive programming environment that is also fun! You can run Programming Lab through a web browser as well as on desktop systems. It is compatible on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Though Wolfram Programming Lab officially released earlier this year, the education folks here at Wolfram have been using it for a while now. Apart from constantly adding and tweaking content, we have been very busy conducting workshops in schools and libraries in Champaign-Urbana and nearby cities. Today I’ll discuss experiences from two workshops that I led using Wolfram Programming Lab.

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February 5, 2016 — Brian Wood, Technical Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

“What are the odds?” This phrase is often tossed around to point out seemingly coincidental occurrences, and it’s normally intended as a rhetorical question. Most people won’t even wager a guess; they know that the implied answer is usually “very slim.”

However, I always find myself fascinated by this question. I like to think about the events leading up to a situation and what sorts of unseen mechanisms might be at work. I interpret the question as a challenge, an exciting topic worthy of discussion. In some cases the odds may seem incalculable—and I’ll admit it’s not always easy. However, a quick investigation of the surrounding mathematics can give you a lot of insight. Hopefully after reading this post, you’ll have a better answer the next time someone asks, “What are the odds?”

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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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January 28, 2016 — Stephen Wolfram

Six and a half years ago we put and the sophisticated computational knowledge it delivers out free on the web for anyone in the world to use. Now we’re launching the Wolfram Open Cloud to let anyone in the world use the Wolfram Language—and do sophisticated knowledge-based programming—free on the web.

Wolfram Open Cloud

It’s been very satisfying to see how successfully Wolfram|Alpha has democratized computational knowledge and how its effects have grown over the years. Now I want to do the same thing with knowledge-based programming—through the Wolfram Open Cloud.

Last week we released Wolfram Programming Lab as an environment for people to learn knowledge-based programming with the Wolfram Language. Today I’m pleased to announce that we’re making Wolfram Programming Lab available for free use on the web in the Wolfram Open Cloud.

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January 19, 2016 — Stephen Wolfram

I’m excited today to be able to announce the launch of Wolfram Programming Lab—an environment for anyone to learn programming and computational thinking through the Wolfram Language. You can run Wolfram Programming Lab through a web browser, as well as natively on desktop systems (Mac, Windows, Linux).

The Wolfram Programming Lab startup screen

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January 12, 2016 — Jenna Giuffrida, Content Administrator, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

As this new year begins and the books keep rolling in, we are happy to share with you an exciting new selection of texts featuring Wolfram technologies. If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution for 2016, why not consider learning how to use Mathematica or the Wolfram Language? In this post are several books for beginners in English, German, and Japanese, as well as more advanced books for those who are looking to sharpen their skills.

Basic Mathematics Knowledge: The Smart Start to University Math; How to Utilize Mathematica in the Field of Electrical Engineering; Introduction to Mathematica: Including the Free Version 10 for Raspberry Pi

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