September 24 marked the release of the third edition of one of our most successful and widespread teaching tools: Cliff Hastings, Kelvin Mischo and Michael Morrison’s debut book, Hands-on Start to Wolfram Mathematica and Programming with the Wolfram Language. As the publishing assistant at Wolfram Research, I’ve spent the past few weeks working with the authors to get this new version ready to publish. As we did with the second-edition release, I’ll let Cliff and Kelvin tell us a bit about what’s new in the third edition, why Hands-on Start is so successful and what’s on the horizon (Hands-on Start to Wolfram|Alpha Notebook Edition!).
Date Archive: 2020 September
Our second year of the Wolfram Data Science Boot Camp (and the first fully virtual edition) wrapped at the end of July. After completing final project assessments last week and issuing certificates, we can confidently say it was a success! Wolfram U mentors helped dozens of budding data scientists learn the multiparadigm approach and develop valuable skills in analysis, visualization, interface construction and more. Campers collaborated on projects of their own design, earning certifications along the way.
We’re proud of everyone who participated, and their efforts deserve some recognition! So without further ado, here’s a quick recap: how we ran the camp, what kinds of projects we saw and the lowdown on our new Level II Certification program.
A few months before I accepted a Wolfram Research internship—around March—I was very fearful, and so was the majority of the world. We knew very little about the novel coronavirus, and the data was just not robust. In addition to the limited data we had, the scientific process necessarily takes time, so even that was not used to its full extent. In a world where not enough data can quickly become data overload, the question didn’t seem to be finding more data, but rather how can one extract useful and meaningful information from the available data?
A worldwide pandemic is definitely stressful, but a worldwide pandemic without accessible and computable information is much more so. Using Wolfram technologies in coordination with several internal teams, I created a Wolfram U course called COVID-19 Data Analysis and Visualization to try and cut through the informational fog and find some clarity. I saw this course as one that gives power to everyone to be able to look at data and gain insight. After all, data is knowledge, and knowledge is power.
In March, my work life changed dramatically, as it did for many around the world. After working in an office environment for almost 25 years, I was told that I needed to work from home for the first time. So I took my laptop, power cord and extra battery home with the expectation that I’d be there for one to two weeks. The first couple of days were a mad dash with our IT department to ensure my VPN, softphone and main tools were set up correctly for remote work. They were great, and for the most part, I was working at 90% right away. The experience opened my eyes, as many of my sales employees work remotely, so I learned a lot about the positives (and, of course, the negatives) they often experience that I may not have appreciated in the past.
Wolfram|Alpha Notebook Edition was released nearly a year ago, and we're proud to share what the team has been working on since. In addition to the improvements made to Wolfram|Alpha itself, new input and output suggestions were added. There were parsing fixes, additions to the Wolfram|Alpha-to-Wolfram Language translation and some of the normal improvements one would expect. There are also some bigger features and interesting new capabilities that we will explore in a bit more detail here.
If you haven't checked out Wolfram|Alpha Notebook Edition in a while, we'd like to invite you to revisit. With education looking a little different for many people right now, this could be a great time to explore this exciting new way to interface with Wolfram technologies.
This roundup of Wolfram Community contributions features several different functions and tools related to current times, from the global pandemic to sustainable spaces and homeschool puzzles. Read on to see just a few creative examples from some of our favorite Community members and Wolfram Language wizzes.
Schooling looks a little different in 2020. Whether it’s technical issues with the transition to online courses, decreased physical attendance or delayed and last-minute openings, we’re all feeling the pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Wolfram Research, we've been involved in education for decades and count millions of parents, teachers and students as both our customers and our friends. Because of this longstanding commitment to learning, we have content, experts and platforms at the ready to help parents and students who are looking for ways to augment their learning.