Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Date Archive: 2018 November

Education & Academic

Interning at Wolfram: My Regeneration as a Theoretical Scientist

How does it feel to be an intern at Wolfram?

Most undergraduate college students chase opportunities for internships in New York, Miami, Seattle and particularly San Francisco at very young but large high-tech companies like Uber, Pinterest, Quora, Expedia and similar internet companies. These companies offer the best salaries, perks, bosses, coworkers, catered lunches and other luxurious amenities available in such large cities. You would seldom hear about any of these people pursuing opportunities in small, lesser-known towns like Ames, Iowa, or Laramie, Wyoming—and Champaign, Illinois, where Wolfram Research is based, is one of those smaller towns.

Many students want to go into computer science, as it’s such a rapidly developing field. They especially want to work in those companies on the West Coast. If you’re in a different field, like natural science, you might think there’s nothing beyond on-campus research for work experience. At Wolfram Research, though, there is.

Education & Academic

Computation + Literature in High School: Doctoral-Level Digital Humanities

Thanks to the Wolfram Language, English teacher Peter Nilsson is empowering his students with computational methods in literature, history, geography and a range of other non-STEM fields. Working with a group of other teachers at Deerfield Academy, he developed Distant Reading: an innovative course for introducing high-level digital humanities concepts to high-school students. Throughout the course, students learn in-demand coding skills and data science techniques while also finding creative ways to apply computational thinking to real-world topics that interest them.

In this video, Nilsson describes how the built-in knowledge, broad subject coverage and intuitive coding workflow of the Wolfram Language were crucial to the success of his course:

Current Events & History

As of Today, the Fundamental Constants of Physics (c, h, e, k, NA) Are Finally… Constant!

This morning, representatives of more than 100 countries agreed on a new definition of the base units for all weights and measures. Here’s a picture of the event that I took this morning at the Palais des Congrès in Versailles (down the street from the Château):

An important vote for the future weights and measures used in science, technology, commerce and even daily life happened here today. This morning’s agreement is the culmination of at least 230 years of wishing and labor by some of the world’s most famous scientists. The preface to the story entails Galileo and Kepler. Chapter one involves Laplace, Legendre and many other late-18th-century French scientists. Chapter two includes Arago and Gauss. Some of the main figures of chapter three (which I would call “The Rise of the Constants”) are Maxwell and Planck. And the final chapter (“Reign of the Constants”) begins today and builds on the work of contemporary Nobel laureates like Klaus von Klitzing, Bill Phillips and Brian Josephson.

I had the good fortune to witness today’s historic event in person.

Current Events & History

Martian Commutes and Werewolf Teeth: Using Wolfram|Alpha for Writing Research

This post was initially published on Tech-Based Teaching, a blog about computational thinking, educational technology and the spaces in between. Rather than prioritizing a single discipline, Tech-Based Teaching aims to show how edtech can cultivate learning for all students. Past posts have explored the value of writing in math class, the whys and hows of distant reading and the role of tech in libraries. It’s November, also known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This annual celebration of all things writerly is the perfect excuse for would-be authors to sit down and start writing. For educators and librarians, NaNoWriMo is a great time to weave creative writing into curricula, be it through short fiction activities, campus groups or library meet-ups. During NaNoWriMo, authors are typically categorized into two distinct types: pantsers, who “write by the seat of their pants,” and plotters, who are meticulous in their planning. While plotters are likely writing from preplanned outlines, pantsers may need some inspiration. That’s where Wolfram|Alpha comes in handy.
Announcements & Events

The Wolfram Technology Conference 2018 Livecoding Championship: A Recap

For the third year in a row, the annual Wolfram Technology Conference played host to a new kind of esport—the Livecoding Championship. Expert programmers competed to solve challenges with the Wolfram Language, with the goal of winning the championship tournament belt and exclusive bragging rights. This year I had the honor of composing the competition questions, in addition to serving as live commentator alongside trusty co-commentator (and Wolfram's lead communications strategist) Swede White. You can view the entire recorded livestream of the event here—popcorn not included.