Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Date Archive: 2009 October

Education & Academic

Mathematica and The American Mathematical Monthly’s “Problems and Solutions” Section

The "Problems and Solutions" section of The American Mathematical Monthly journal has always been a source of interesting problems to keep me entertained. Their solutions often require ingenuity. The problems in the October issue were no exception. I always analyze and explore these problems in Mathematica. Being a kernel developer, I see whether Mathematica can indeed find a solution. This last issue has challenging problems, and it was particularly gratifying to observe that Mathematica could solve them right out of the box. So here are my solutions to three of the paraphrased problems:
Announcements & Events

More from the International Mathematica User Conference 2009

There is still lots of excitement at this year's International Mathematica User Conference. This morning started with a lively talk from Wolfram Research's Conrad Wolfram and Theodore Gray on the future of publishing. Essentially, they opined that the future will be paper-less and sparked with interactivity. Their goal is to find more ways for Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha to help in that process.
Announcements & Events

First Day of the International Mathematica User Conference 2009

This year's International Mathematica User Conference is off to a great start! The day opened with a combined talk by Wolfram Research's Roger Germundsson and Tom Wickham-Jones discussing Mathematica's current and future features and its development and deployment tools. Along with many Wolfram Research developers, Mathematica users from all over the world have been speaking on the myriad ways they explore those same features and technologies in their projects. With so many interesting topics, choosing which talks to attend can be difficult.
Announcements & Events

A Big Week for Wolfram|Alpha

There's a lot going on in the Wolfram|Alpha project these days—and this week there's a remarkable convergence of events. Late last week we introduced the Wolfram|Alpha Webservice API, allowing outside developers to call Wolfram|Alpha from their websites or application programs. Then yesterday we released the first mobile implementation of Wolfram|Alpha, in the form of an iPhone app. Tomorrow, we're doing something completely different: Wolfram|Alpha Homework Day—a 14-hour live webcast event for students and educators. Oh, and starting on Thursday is the International Mathematica User Conference, which will show many advances in the core Mathematica technology on which Wolfram|Alpha is based.
Education & Academic

Using Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha in the Classroom

There are lots of things going on at Wolfram Research these days. October 22–24 is our annual International Mathematica User Conference, and October 21 is the first-ever Wolfram|Alpha Homework Day! Homework Day is a groundbreaking, marathon live interactive web event that brings together students, parents, and educators from across the United States to solve their toughest assignments and explore the power of using Wolfram|Alpha for school, college, and beyond. You can read more about it in the Wolfram|Alpha Blog post. Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha are great resources for both teachers and students. Using the two together is a good way to explore topics in more depth. This video shows a few examples of how you can utilize Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha in your own classroom.
Leading Edge

Wolfram Research at the Fall 2009 American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition

I am always intrigued by the many ways people use Mathematica. But it was even more exciting to be a part of the American Chemical Society Fall 2009 National Meeting and hear the true excitement and awe of our users' latest discoveries of what is possible in Mathematica. I also had a lot of fun introducing new users to our software! In August, we traveled to ACS in beautiful Washington, DC, USA. The ACS meeting brought together the largest scientific society and its members' families, colleagues, and students. It provided an ideal venue to demonstrate Mathematica's capabilities in chemistry and chemical engineering. We demonstrated a broad range of features, including Mathematica 7's fully curated chemical, genomic, and proteomic data, built-in parallelization capabilities, and unsurpassed modeling and visualization capabilities. The ability to visualize any data as well as update it on the fly has bridged a gap many researchers and scientists have had to work around when using other tools. You can even rapidly develop and test algorithms as well as generate accurate structural renderings in 2D and 3D using the integrated data, which is easy to retrieve programmatically.
Education & Academic

Rendering the Structure of the Universe in Your Spare Time

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is an ongoing endeavor to map the sky in great detail, with many different goals. One of the larger objectives is to map the structure of the cosmos by determining the positions of galaxies and their relativistic redshift (basically their distance). Using this data and Mathematica, you can plot the information and reveal the structure of the cosmos. In my spare time, I queried the SDSS website, which is database driven, and in eight separate queries I was able to get all galaxies in the survey out to a redshift of 0.5. According to Wolfram|Alpha, this corresponds to looking back in time 5.02 billion years ago, or a distance of 6.14 billion light years, when the light we're now seeing from the most distant galaxies started its journey here. That's a billion years before our solar system formed. It's taken this long for the light to reach us.