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# Date Archive: 2018 July

Announcements & Events

## New Wolfram Language Books: Don’t Stop Learning Just Because It’s Summer

It’s not really late summer unless you’re armed with an apple and a good book. There’s been a recent slew of incredible books utilizing the capabilities of the Wolfram Language that make sure your coding knowledge never stops growing and your reading list stays stocked. (And be sure to check the farmers’ market for those apples.)

## Big O and Friends: Tales of the Big, the Small and Every Scale in Between

One of the many beautiful aspects of mathematics is that often, things that look radically different are in fact the same—or at least share a common core. On their faces, algorithm analysis, function approximation and number theory seem radically different. After all, the first is about computer programs, the second is about smooth functions and the third is about whole numbers. However, they share a common toolset: asymptotic relations and the important concept of asymptotic scale.

By comparing the “important parts” of two functions—a common trick in mathematics—asymptotic analysis classifies functions based on the relative size of their absolute values near a particular point. Depending on the application, this comparison provides quantitative answers to questions such as “Which of these algorithms is fastest?” or “Is function a good approximation to function g?”. Version 11.3 of the Wolfram Language introduces six of these relations, summarized in the following table.

Computation & Analysis

## Four Minecraft Projects with the Wolfram Language

A couple of weeks ago I shared a package for controlling the Raspberry Pi version of Minecraft from Mathematica (either on the Pi or from another computer). You can control the Minecraft API from lots of languages, but the Wolfram Language is very well aligned to this task—both because the rich, literate, multiparadigm style of the language makes it great for learning coding, and because its high-level data and computation features let you get exciting results very quickly.

Today, I wanted to share four fun Minecraft project ideas that I had, together with simple code for achieving them. There are also some ideas for taking the projects further.

## Getting to the Point: Asymptotic Expansions in the Wolfram Language

Asymptotic expansions have played a key role in the development of fields such as aerodynamics, quantum physics and mathematical analysis, as they allow us to bridge the gap between intricate theories and practical calculations. Indeed, the leading term in such an expansion often gives more insight into the solution of a problem than a long and complicated exact solution. Version 11.3 of the Wolfram Language introduces two new functions, AsymptoticDSolveValue and AsymptoticIntegrate, which compute asymptotic expansions for differential equations and integrals, respectively. Here, I would like to give you an introduction to asymptotic expansions using these new functions.

## Why Is Sickle Cell Anemia Common in Areas with Malaria? Teaching Life Science with Modeling

Explore the contents of this article with a free Wolfram SystemModeler trial. Life science teaches us to answer everything from "How can vaccines be used to indirectly protect people who haven't been immunized?" to "Why are variations in eye color almost exclusively present among humans and domesticated animals?" You can now learn to answer these questions by using modeling with Wolfram's virtual labs. Virtual labs are interactive course materials that are used to make teaching come alive, provide an easy way to study different concepts and promote student curiosity.
Computation & Analysis

## Programming Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi

The standard Raspbian software on the Raspberry Pi comes with a basic implementation of Minecraft and a full implementation of the Wolfram Language. Combining the two provides a fun playground for learning coding. If you are a gamer, you can use the richness of the Wolfram Language to programmatically generate all kinds of interesting structures in the game world, or to add new capabilities to the game. If you are a coder, then you can consider Minecraft just as a fun 3D rendering engine for the output of your code.