Wolfram Technology Conference 2013: That’s a Wrap
November 18, 2013 — Wolfram Blog Team, Wolfram Blog Team
Wolfram Research hosted the annual Technology Conference at our headquarters in Champaign, Illinois, October 21–23. We welcomed over two hundred attendees from twenty different countries, making this our largest turnout yet!
The event was once again jam-packed with exciting talks, Q&As, workshops, and even hands-on time with some of our top-secret upcoming products. (Sorry, but you had to be there to find out what they are—all attendees signed a Nondisclosure Agreement in order to hear the latest about our unreleased technologies!) We enjoyed a stellar opening keynote from Stephen Wolfram, which left everyone buzzing with anticipation for the sessions and speakers to follow.
Amazing possibilities with our technology were showcased, demonstrating how devices can be integrated with Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha to perform real-time data analysis. In one workshop, multiple Spheros were set up so that attendees could control the spherical robots through Mathematica, manipulating velocity, acceleration, and color. With the device’s gyroscopic data, users could twist and turn the Sphero in their hands and use it to remotely control the orientation of three-dimensional objects in Mathematica. Implications for integrating the Sphero with Mathematica ranged from new ways to accomplish augmented reality to quantitatively assessing range-of-motion for patients in physical therapy.
Throughout the event, new discussions were constantly sparked by professionals and hobbyists about the capabilities and versatility of using Mathematica and other Wolfram products. Wolfram developers and attendees alike gave talks and workshops, illustrating not only how the technology was built, but also some of the diverse applications our users have implemented in their professional fields. Their impressive and innovative projects ranged from modeling public pensions and air traffic safety to social media integration and accessibility for blind student programmers.
This year’s conference was also particularly special to us, because we celebrated the 25th birthday of our pioneer product, Mathematica. In its honor, we set up a small museum to illustrate just how much the software has grown and evolved over the years—oh, and we had a totally awesome anniversary cake!
In the spirit of Mathematica‘s 25th Anniversary, a fun and lighthearted panel was held on Wednesday over lunch, titled “Mathematica through the Years: A User’s Story Lunch Panel.” Long-time users of Mathematica Stan Wagon, George Woodrow III, Debra Woods, Robert Nachbar, and Richard J. Gaylord reminisced about the quirks and concepts of the early days, like making 2+2=5, and Stephen Wolfram’s notorious fondness for chocolate!
We also posed a new challenge for conference-goers this year with an Egg-Bot competition. Attendees were tasked with coming up with original images to generate in Mathematica to print onto Ping-Pong balls. Stay tuned for the announcement of the results and the winners of the 2013 Innovator Awards!