Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Date Archive: 2011 November

Education & Academic

The First Computer-Based Math Education Summit

Having worked on content development for computer-based math over the past few months, I am excited to share a quick report on our lively summit at The Royal Institution. The purpose was to address the question "In an era of ubiquitous computing, how should we rebuild math education from the ground up, to keep pace with and drive progress in the real world?" Attendees included people from government, education, assessment, industry, technology, STEM, and publishing, which I believe proved to make a very interesting crowd. The talks from speakers were insightful as anticipated and, at times, amusing; however, what I enjoyed most were the natural discussions and debates that happened after these talks and throughout the summit.
Design & Visualization

Detecting Kinship from a Pair of Images

We just attended the International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP) in Brussels and the 14th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI) in Toronto. Both events proved to be great occasions to demonstrate how Mathematica can aid research in image processing, from investigation and prototyping to deployment. Last but not least, we seized the opportunity to listen to the experts in the field to extend the functionality of Mathematica in the right direction. Last year, Ruogu Fang, Kevin D. Tang, Noah Snavely, and Tsuhan Chen received the best paper award at ICIP for their study of kinship detection from pairs of images. I decided to build a detector by following their proposed framework with Mathematica. A lot has been said and studied about our human ability to recognize faces; computer programs can be quite good at it, too. Similarly, when looking at faces, we may display a canny ability to detect an ancestry relationship, or kinship. In these pictures, is the person on the left the father of the person on the right? Yes, and we can figure it out with Mathematica.
Education & Academic

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Use Mathematica to Collaborate with High Schools

After a few meetings during the past few weeks with Mark Thomas, Software Contracts Specialist for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU), Wolfram and MnSCU have finalized a plan that will provide Mathematica to Minnesota public high schools through a new outreach program. Any of the roughly 400 public high schools in Minnesota can request a license for Mathematica at MnSCU-offer@wolfram.com, and Wolfram will provide up to five local licenses per school for the duration of the 2011–2012 academic year. Wolfram and MnSCU intend to extend this partnership in the future.
Computation & Analysis

11/11/11 11:11:11—The Right Time to Look at a Number

World War I officially ended in 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Remembrance Day is observed in Commonwealth countries to recall the end of the war and to remember the members of the armed forces who gave their lives for the cause. This year we observe Remembrance Day on 11/11/11. Beyond the somberness of this memorial day, those of us who are mathematically inclined consider the surprising ways we can combine 1s to achieve beautiful results. Some of these combinations involve rather unpleasant calculations, so we'll let Mathematica do the heavy lifting while we marvel at the results! Today I'll share 11 interesting places in which 1 appears. Let's jump in. 1. Can anything of interest come from combining the humble digit 1 with the square root and plus symbol? As the demonstration below suggests, given the right nesting, you get an infinite series that converges to φ = 1.61803..., the golden ratio.

Mathematica Q&A Series: Surprises in Differentiation and Integration

Got questions about Mathematica? The Wolfram Blog has answers! We'll regularly answer selected questions from users around the web. You can submit your question directly to the Q&A Team. This week's question comes from Kutha, a math lecturer: Why doesn't differentiating after integrating always return the original function? Read below or watch this screencast for the answer (we recommend viewing it in full-screen mode): The derivative of a definite integral with respect to its upper bound (with a constant lower bound) is equal to the integrand:
Education & Academic

The Ongoing Stock Market Crash

The ongoing gyrations of the stock market over the past few months have spread panic not just throughout the markets, but into the rest of the economy and the political sphere. There are some who assert that this is due to the recent downgrade of the American credit rating by Standard & Poor's (S&P), but an analysis with Mathematica suggests that other factors may be at play. Using the FinancialBond function for a zero-coupon continuously compounding bond price, we discover the inverse relation between bond prices and yields (y) given below. As the bond price increases, the yield y decreases. As bonds are bought, their prices go up and the corresponding yields drop. Looking at the U.S. yield curve using Wolfram|Alpha at the end of July and eight weeks later below, the yields on long-term 10-year treasury bonds have dropped from 2.82% to 1.84%, which is a historic 50-year low. This shows that investors are now more likely to buy long-term U.S. government debt, which is puzzling behavior if they are panicked by the S&P downgrade.