Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Date Archive: 2012 July

Computation & Analysis

Tracking the World Records

With the 2012 Olympics upon us, and records waiting to be broken, it might be a good time to consider some aspects of track and field. I need to write this now, because once the track part of the Games is underway, I fully intend to spend quality time with a television set. Why do I like track? Well, what school sport might one take up if one is (read: was) scrawny and not very (read: very not) coordinated? I will focus on men's track, but the gist of this almost certainly applies to women's as well. We'll look at speeds of world records and how they change as the distances get longer. I'll start with a Demonstration by my Wolfram Research colleague Sy Blinder, "How Fast Can You Run?" The Demonstration shows that speeds follow an interesting pattern, which is covered by me here. Along the way I will also inadvertently reveal that I know nothing whatever about data modeling. To underscore the comment about records being broken, I will point out that several of the record times listed in Blinder's Demonstration are already out of date. Below is a current list, of the form {distance, time} measured in {meters, seconds}. I omitted the less common distances because they might not be indicative of the best possible efforts, even among elite athletes.
Education & Academic

On the Importance of Being Edgy—Electrostatic and Magnetostatic Problems with Sharp Edges

(This is the first post in a three-part series about electrostatic and magnetostatic problems involving sharp edges.) Mathematica can do a lot of different computations. Easy and complicated ones, numeric and symbolic ones, applied and theoretical ones, small and large ones. All by carrying out a Mathematica program. Wolfram|Alpha too carries out a lot of computations (actually, tens of millions every day), all specified through free-form inputs, not Mathematica programs. Wolfram|Alpha is heavily based on Mathematica, and many of the mathematical calculations that Wolfram|Alpha carries out rely on the mathematical power of Mathematica. And while Wolfram|Alpha can carry out a vast amount of calculations, it cannot carry out all possible calculations, either because it does not (yet) know how to do a calculation or because the (underlying Mathematica) calculation would take a longer time than available through Wolfram|Alpha. So for a detailed investigation of a more complicated engineering, physics, or chemistry problem, having a copy of Mathematica handy is mandatory. But there is also the reverse relation between Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha: Wolfram|Alpha's knowledge, especially its data knowledge, allows it to carry out investigations and calculations that can substantially increase the power of pure Mathematica. And all of this is because Wolfram|Alpha's knowledge is accessible through the WolframAlpha[] function within Mathematica.
Announcements & Events

Mathematica Experts Live: Dynamic Interfaces Q&A 2012

It's back! The only event in which Mathematica experts are live on camera to answer your questions: Mathematica Experts Live. The first Mathematica Experts Live virtual event was such a popular success that we're doing it again. Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. Many of you asked for help with dynamic interfaces, so this time Mathematica experts will answer questions about interactivity. We'll be ready to answer questions similar to: How do you add a constraint to a Dynamic? My Dynamic is slow. How can I make it faster? What is the difference between Module and DynamicModule? How do you change the visual appearance of a button? How can I make custom controls? Although the format is the same as before, this event will be 30 minutes longer. Our host will accept questions in real time and pass them to three of our user interface experts. You can also submit your question when you register for the event.
Announcements & Events

Mathematica Summer Camp 2012 Was a Success!

Mathematica Summer Camp ran July 1–13 at Curry College. This year we had 22 high school students from all over the world who came together to learn Mathematica. By the end of camp, each student created his or her own Mathematica program, which they presented on Friday. They all worked hard to complete their projects in order to submit them to the Wolfram Demonstrations Project.
Announcements & Events

Digging into River-Aquifer Interactions with Mathematica

As a PhD candidate in civil engineering, Diego Oviedo-Salcedo needed a computational environment that he could use to not only explore the abstract concepts within his civil engineering research, but also to present and communicate his findings to his advisor, peers, and decision-makers. His solution: Mathematica. Mathematica's enhanced built-in statistical analysis capabilities allow Oviedo-Salcedo to instantly test different ideas and methods related to assessing the impact of uncertain physical and hydrological sources on river and aquifer interactions. In addition, Mathematica's easy-to-author interactivity helps him communicate his results with dynamic models—a feature that's proven to be eye-opening within his department.
Announcements & Events

Get Ready for the Wolfram Technology Conference 2012

Before you know it, it'll be October and time for the Wolfram Technology Conference 2012. We thought you'd be interested in finding out more about some of the things we're doing this year. First, we're offering a social networking and personalized schedule-building tool for all registered attendees. You can connect with your fellow attendees, arrange meetings with Wolfram staff and other participants, create your schedule, and rate talks and share comments throughout the conference. Feel free to dive right in and create your own profile.