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Date Archive: 2021 March

Current Events & History

Is Your Function Continuous? Squaring Away the New Function Properties in the Wolfram Language

The Wolfram Language has several hundred built-in functions, ranging from sine to Heun. As a user, you can extend this collection in infinitely many ways by applying arithmetic operations and function composition. This could lead you to defining expressions of bewildering complexity, such as the following:

 ✕ f = SinhIntegral[ LogisticSigmoid[ ScorerHi[Tanh[AiryAi[HermiteH[-(1/2), x] - x + 1]]]]];
You may then ask, “Is continuous?” or “Can be written as a composition of an increasing function with another function?” The powerful new tools for studying function properties in Version 12.2 provide quick answers to such questions—opening the doors for applying a network of theorems and ideas that have been developed by mathematicians during the last few centuries.
Current Events & History

The Solution of the Zodiac Killer’s 340-Character Cipher

In 2020, Melbourne, Australia, had a 112-day lockdown of the entire city to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The wearing of masks was mandatory and we were limited to one hour a day of outside activity. Otherwise, we were stuck in our homes. This gave me lots of time to look into interesting problems I’d been putting off for years.

I was inspired by a YouTube video by David Oranchak, which looked at the Zodiac Killer’s 340-character cipher (Z340), which is pictured below. This cipher is considered one of the holy grails of cryptography, as at the time the cipher had resisted attacks for 50 years, so any attempts to find a solution were truly a moonshot.

Current Events & History

Florida Spring Break 2021: February COVID-19 Data Forecasts the March of the Variants

It is widely believed that students and others spending their 2020 spring break in Florida helped spread COVID-19 far and wide, in the US and elsewhere (see also this study). The picture in 2021 is quite different in several ways. For one, the disease has been in the US for over a year, and an approximated 30% of the population has antibodies from prior exposure. Also, several vaccines are now in use, and close to 20% have received at least one inoculation at the time of this writing. (Since those two groups overlap, the total is believed to be in the ballpark of 45% of the total population.) We now know that children under the age of 16 do not get the disease in large numbers and are not a major vector for its spread. Social distancing practices are in use to varying degrees, and infection numbers are currently falling across the country. This is believed to be due to a combination of increased immunity and non-pharmacological interventions (NPIs) such as social distancing and mask use.
Announcements & Events

Wolfram Technologies in Print: Featuring New Authors, Books and Subject Areas

Wolfram Language users make up an incredibly diverse community. People from all around the globe use Wolfram technologies in a variety of fields and industries. High-school and college students begin to use the Wolfram Language in all types of classes as well as for their own projects, and educators at all institutional levels use Wolfram products to prepare for and teach courses—at the world’s top 200 universities and beyond.

We’ve rounded up some of our users’ recently published books, and were honored to speak with two authors about their projects.
Computation & Analysis

Enhanced Association Tools Now Available in the Wolfram Function Repository

Association has become one of the most commonly used symbols for developers working with any kind of data since it was introduced in Version 10 of the Wolfram Language in 2014. While there are many built-in tools for working with an Association, developers also made many tools themselves as they modernized their code. Now many of those tools have found their way into the Wolfram Function Repository. Here I’ll highlight some of my favorites and show how they compare to built-in Wolfram Language functions.

Announcements & Events

Third-Generation Blockchain Functionality with Tezos and the Wolfram Language

As CEO of Wolfram Blockchain Labs (WBL), I think one of the most exciting parts of my job is collaborating with other leaders in the blockchain space to expand tools for developers and business use cases. For several years now, we’ve been adding a steady stream of blockchain functionality into the Wolfram Language to enable development of knowledge-based distributed applications and computational contracts. You may have noticed the growing number of popular blockchains (ARK, Bitcoin, bloxberg, Cardano, Ethereum, MultiChain...) partnering with us and integrating into our platform. It’s already led to some cool explorations, and we have a lot more in the pipeline.

Today, WBL is happy to announce its latest such collaboration, a partnership with TQ Tezos. That includes Tezos blockchain integration in the Wolfram Language, which is great news for smart contract developers and enthusiasts. But that’s just the beginning. Our long-term plans include a lot of big ideas that we think everyone will be excited about!