Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Date Archive: 2012 January

Announcements & Events

C and a Box of Chocolates: Video Presentations from the Wolfram Technology Conference 2011

Tips for analyzing your social networks with Mathematica, workshops for publishing with CDF, real-world solutions for your financial applications—these are just a few of the many highlights from the Wolfram Technology Conference 2011. If you missed a talk or weren't able to attend, we've now made videos of select presentations available on the Presentations and Talks section of the conference website.
Education & Academic

The Wolfram Education Portal Is Here!

Teachers, are you looking for a new way to integrate technology into your classroom? How about through a dynamic textbook or pre-generated lesson plans? Students, are you looking for some extra help or practice in your classes? How about using interactive demonstrations and widgets to help understand the concepts you are learning? The Wolfram Education Portal is the answer for students and teachers alike! We are happy to announce the launch of the free Beta version of the Wolfram Education Portal. The portal comes equipped with a dynamic and interactive textbook, lesson plans aligned to the common core standards, and many other supplemental materials for your courses, including Wolfram Demonstrations, widgets, and videos. The Education Portal currently contains full materials for Algebra and partial materials for Calculus, but will continue to grow and improve with your comments and feedback.
Best of Blog

The Longest Word Ladder Puzzle Ever

UPDATE: The solution to the puzzle and more comments from Jon have been added at the bottom of the post. On the long flight to the recent Wolfram Technology Conference, I ended up on the puzzle page of a newspaper. My attention was drawn to a word ladder puzzle, where you must fill in a sequence of words from clues, but each word differs from the previous by only a single letter. Here, for example, is a simple puzzle already solved:
best from a position of superiority or authority
bast strong woody fibers obtained especially from the phloem of from various plants
bash a vigorous blow
bath a vessel containing liquid in which something is immersed (as to process it or to maintain it at a constant temperature or to lubricate it)
math a science (or group of related sciences) dealing with the logic of quantity and shape and arrangement
I wasn't going to do a blog entry on this, as it is a very similar task to my "Exploring Synonym Chains" post that I wrote some time ago, but that changed with a chance conversation at the (excellent) Technology Conference. Proving that one never stops learning, Charles Pooh, one of our graph theory developers, pointed out to me that my synonyms item could have been done much better. I had broken one of the very rules that I wrote about in my "10 Tips for Fast Mathematica Code" entry—"Use built-in functions." I had effectively re-implemented the built-in Mathematica commands GraphPeriphery and GraphDiameter. So, armed with these two new functions, let's find the longest word ladder puzzle that can be made using Mathematica's English dictionary.
Announcements & Events

Deliver Professional Applications with Wolfram Player Pro

Does this scenario sound familiar? You've created a real-time analytics interface for your internal data in Mathematica and you want to share it with your colleagues. But they don't have, or typically need, Mathematica. You aren't alone. Many of our users have approached me with similar concerns. That's why we created Wolfram Player Pro—the professional platform for running interactive applications based on Wolfram technology. Player Pro is a high-level deployment engine for application developers. We've just released a new version that supports almost all the functionality of Mathematica 8, giving you everything you need to deploy your applications to your colleagues or clients. And with this version, you can not only deploy reports, applets, and other material as full-featured desktop applications or documents, but also as interactive web tools using the new browser plugin.
Design & Visualization

How to Count Cells, Annihilate Sailboats, and Warp the Mona Lisa

In a recent series of Image Processing with Mathematica workshops held at universities across the United States, we presented Mathematica's new image processing functionality and applied it on the spot to attendees' real-world problems. It was amazing to me to see how rapidly and flexibly Mathematica could be applied to solve complex image processing problems. For example, it might seem like writing a program to automatically count cells in an image would be a master's research project, but amazingly you can do it with a few lines of Mathematica code. Below I am using morphological operations and measurement tools to segment and analyze red blood cells in a microscopy image. Cell segmentation and hole filling can be done with an intensity thresholding using Binarize and FillingTransform: