Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Date Archive: 2015 November

Education & Academic

’Tis the Season to Be Coding! Wolfram Cyber Week Savings

It's that time of year again and the holidays are upon us. Whatever your gifting traditions, Wolfram has perfect solutions for the tech lovers on your shopping list. From now until December 6, we are offering Cyber Week savings around the world, including North and South America, Australia, and parts of Asia and Africa.

Mechanical Engineering Landing Gear Example: Wolfram SystemModeler


Explore the contents of this article with a free Wolfram SystemModeler trial. Teachers and textbook authors often need to simplify a real-world problem to pinpoint a specific area to work with—for instance, the examples in a textbook. However, even in real-world engineering, simplifying a problem can bring clarity when our understanding might otherwise drown in a sea of details. In this blog, we will design the landing gear for a helicopter. I have chosen the example of landing gear because the simplification to one degree of freedom gives accurate results and is typically how the problem is treated in textbooks. The solution is attainable through hand calculation. But a more subtle understanding of the problem can be gained using the Wolfram Language and Wolfram SystemModeler.
Best of Blog

Aspect Ratios in Art: What Is Better Than Being Golden? Being Plastic, Rooted, or Just Rational? Investigating Aspect Ratios of Old vs. Modern Paintings

Paintings of the great masters are among the most beautiful human artifacts ever produced. They are treasured and admired, carefully preserved, sold for hundreds of millions of dollars, and, perhaps not coincidentally, are the prime target of art thieves. Their composition, colors, details, and themes can fascinate us for hours. But what about their outer shape---the ratio of a painting's height to its width? In 1876, the German scientist Gustav Theodor Fechner studied human responses to rectangular shapes, concluding that rectangles with an aspect ratio equal to the golden ratio are most pleasing to the human eye. To validate his experimental observations, Fechner also analyzed the aspect ratios of more than ten thousand paintings. We can find out more about Fechner with the following piece of code:
Leading Edge

New in the Wolfram Language: RandomPoints

Picking random points on the surface of a sphere so that the points are uniformly distributed is not as straightforward as you might think. Naively picking random spherical coordinates ϕ and θ will not give a uniform distribution of points. The problem is important enough to warrant a dedicated article in encyclopedias, such as Wolfram MathWorld (see Sphere Point Picking). Uniform sampling from Sphere[] is now available in the Wolfram Language with the RandomPoint function: In fact, RandomPoint can be used to uniformly sample from any bounded geometric region, in any dimension. In 2D:

Dissecting the New Anatomy Content in the Wolfram Language

The human body has been a subject of study since the earliest days of human history. The modern scientific fields of anatomy and physiology stem from the Renaissance symbiosis of art and anatomy. In the early 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci was among the first to accurately sketch bodily structures. In 1543, Andreas Vesalius published the famous textbook De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) with beautiful illustrations of the human body. With modern technology at our disposal, we can take anatomy and physiology off the page and digitally put it into a readily computable format. Through Wolfram|Alpha, we are making it possible for you to gain further insight into how individual anatomical structures interplay in the human body and explore it from entire organ systems down to microscopic ganglia. Let's begin our exploration with a macroscopic structure. A vital organ of the cardiovascular system, the heart:
Education & Academic

HackingEDU Takes on Education with Just a Few Lines of Code

The San Mateo Event Center hosted the "world's largest education hackathon" the weekend of October 23 through 25. HackingEDU was high-energy, fast paced, and fun. Over 2,000 people participated; they had 36 hours to create. On their website, HackingEDU features a quote from Nelson Mandela: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." The HackingEDU participants worked hard to make that motto a reality. As with all good hackathons, there was collaboration, learning, and most importantly, cool new coding and inventions. Wolfram Research was there as a sponsor to assist the competing teams with Wolfram Development Platform, instant APIs, and other aspects of the Wolfram Cloud. We were thrilled to see 21 teams using Wolfram technologies for their projects.
Computation & Analysis

The 2015 One-Liner Competition Winners

The One-Liner Competition has become a tradition at our annual Wolfram Technology Conference. It's an opportunity for some of the most talented Wolfram Language developers to show the world what amazing things can be done with a mere 128 characters of Wolfram Language code. More than any other programming language, the Wolfram Language gives you a wealth of sophisticated built-in algorithms that you can combine and recombine to do things you wouldn't think possible without reams of computer code. This year's One-Liner submissions showed the diversity of the language. There were news monitors, sonifications, file system indexers, web mappers, geographic mappers, anatomical visualizations, retro graphics, animations, hypnotic dynamic graphics, and web data miners... all implemented with 128 or fewer characters. The first of three honorable mentions went to Richard Gass for his New York Times Word Cloud. With 127 characters of Wolfram Language code, he builds a word cloud of topics on the current New York Times front page by pulling nouns out of the headlines: