New technology is often what has driven the creation of new science. And so it has been with Mathematica
One of the main reasons I originally started building Mathematica
was that I wanted to use it myself.
And having Mathematica
was a bit like having one of the first telescopes: I could point it somewhere, and immediately see all sorts of new things that had never been seen before.
Much has been discovered with Mathematica
in almost every area of science.
But my particular interest has been to create a new kind of science that is uniquely made possible by Mathematica
: a science based on exploring the computational universe.
We are used to creating computer programs for particular purposes. But as a matter of basic science we can ask about the universe of all possible programs.
And with Mathematica
it becomes easy to explore this.
A quarter of a century ago I had begun my exploration of the computational universe---and had glimpsed some remarkable phenomena.
Then, when Mathematica
was built, I went back and started a systematic study of the computational universe.
The results were remarkable. Wherever I looked---even among the simplest of programs---I saw all sorts of complex and interesting behavior. And from what I found I could make progress on a remarkable range of longstanding questions across all sorts of areas.
For eleven years I worked to develop this. And finally, on May 14, 2002, I published what I had done in my book A New Kind of Science
Today is the fifth anniversary of that event.