Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Date Archive: 2010 October

Leading Edge

Why You Should Care about the Obscure

Mathematica has always had the most complete collection of special functions available. You might think that by now there were no more to add, but the next release of Mathematica will add another five. You might also think that any that are left to add are too obscure for you to care about. They are getting fairly obscure, but you should still care. Let's look at one of them: Owen's T function.
Computation & Analysis

Happy Vampire Day

I recently was asked about Fibonacci Day. I think I replied "What is Fibonacci Day?" Then the person explained it. November 23 is 11/23. Or 1, 1, 2, 3—the start of the Fibonacci sequence. Other yearly math-related days I found were Pi Day (3/14), Foursquare Day (4/16), Pi Approximation Day (22/7, in European format), Opposite Day (12/21), and Mole Day (6:02 10/23). A lot of these seem a bit arbitrary. I thought I might be able to do better, so here's what I came up with for the month of September.
September 2010
Education & Academic

New Algorithm to Make Short Work of Challenging Problems

Buried deep in the list of new technology in the Mathematica development pipeline was the item "integration of oscillatory functions (univariate, multivariate)---new algorithm". I expect most people will overlook it, as I did, in favor of the new functions, new directions, big infrastructure, and the eye candy. Even worse, most people who will use it won't even know---it will be selected automatically when needed, like many of Mathematica's algorithms. So I think it's my duty to share my discovery that this algorithm is actually really cool. Why is it so cool? The first clue I had was when I read in the notes that this was the first time anyone had fully automated the algorithm into a very wide class of problems. Second, that it was a hybrid numeric-symbolic method (putting it beyond the reach of most numerical systems). And finally, that it was developed by the talented Wolfram Research developer Andrew Moylan.