Brian Van Vertloo

What’s New with the Wolfram Documentation Center

March 30, 2020 — Brian Van Vertloo, Document Technology Manager, Document & Media Systems

The Wolfram Language is the culmination of decades of effort, supporting all our products. One reason the Wolfram Language is so easy to use is the Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center—unique in that it contains reference information along with tens of thousands of examples that can be edited and run in place (or quickly copied from the web to your notebook).

We recently released Version 12.1 of the Wolfram Language, and with it, a number of new documentation features and page types. With every release, you’ll find an increasing scope of functionality, examples and use cases documented for different fields and applications, presented with an intuitive, user-friendly design.

What's New with Wolfram Docs

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Stephen Wolfram

In Less Than a Year, So Much New: Launching Version 12.1 of Wolfram Language & Mathematica

March 18, 2020 — Stephen Wolfram

We’re pleased that despite the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on so many people and businesses we’re still able to launch today as planned… (Thanks to our dedicated team and the fact that remote working has been part of our company for decades…)

The Biggest .1 Release Ever

It’s always an interesting time. We’re getting ready to wrap up a .1 version—to release the latest fruits of our research and development efforts. “Is it going to be a big release?”, I wonder. Of course, I know we’ve done a lot of work since we released Version 12.0 last April. All those design reviews (many livestreamed). All those new things we’ve built and figured out.

But then we start actually making the list for the new version. And—OMG—it goes on and on. Different teams are delivering on this or that project that started X years ago. A new function is being added for this. There’s some new innovation about that. Etc.

We started this journey a third of a century ago when we began the development of Version 1.0. And after all these years, it’s amazing how the energy of each new release seems to be ever greater.

And as we went on making the list for Version 12.1 we wondered, “Will it actually be our biggest .1 release ever?”. We finally got the answer: “Yes! And by a lot”.

Counting functions isn’t always the best measure, but it’s an indication. And in Version 12.1 there are a total of 182 completely new functions—as well as updates and enhancements to many hundreds more.

In Less Than a Year, So Much New: Launching Version 12.1 of Wolfram Language & Mathematica

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Ishwarya Vardhani

Bring the Classroom Home with Free Projects, Computational Explorations and Other Resources

March 17, 2020 — Ishwarya Vardhani, Education Partnerships Manager, Partnerships

Communities the world over are bracing themselves for impact from the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Many school districts in particular have already suspended sessions for several weeks to come—and understandably, parents and educators feel anxious about navigating at-home learning (among the variety of other concerns brought about by a pandemic!).

Bring the Classroom Home with Free Projects, Computational Explorations and Other Resources

Professionally, a large part of what I do at Wolfram involves working with educators, students and organizations, and empowering them with the technology to think computationally. I know of several parents with older kids who are now at home, enrolled in schools that are not completely prepared to provide online instruction. While the internet is awash with curricula, it can be a challenging task to assess the quality, relevance and usefulness of each course, given the amount of what is out there.

For decades now at Wolfram, we’ve been committed to the creation of cutting-edge technology and resources for classrooms. Let’s take a look at our wealth of free online resources for quality education while at home.

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Danielle Rommel

Remote Work, Remote Learning: Battle Tested with Wolfram

March 12, 2020 — Danielle Rommel, Director of Outreach and Communications

Given the current discussion of quarantines, sick leave and controlling community outbreaks, many people around the world have been prompted to wonder “Can my business run with a remote workforce?” or “Can my students learn and be productive without coming into the classroom?” The answer, we’ve found, is yes—and we’ve got decades of experience as a largely remote company to guide you, your school, government lab, university or company as you make the understandably challenging transition to working remotely.

Remote Work, Remote Learning: Battle Tested with Wolfram

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Jeffrey Bryant

Exploring the Enigmatic Star, Eta Carinae

March 4, 2020 — Jeffrey Bryant, Research Programmer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content

One of the most enigmatic stars in our galaxy is η Carinae (Eta Carinae). However, in its first recorded observation several hundred years ago, Eta Carinae was a star of little note. Since then, it has become a source of astronomical interest due to dramatic brightness variations, which at one time made it the second-brightest star in the sky. In this post, we’ll investigate the star using the Wolfram Language and the Wolfram Function Repository to discover why it’s changed in such a relatively short period of time, both in its appearance and in our interest in it.

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The Wolfram Function Repository Team

Wolfram Function Repository Highlights: From Country Borders to Bird Speech Bubbles

February 28, 2020 — The Wolfram Function Repository Team

Wolfram Function Repository Highlights: From Country Borders to Bird Speech Bubbles

In June 2019, Stephen Wolfram announced the Wolfram Function Repository, a curated repository of functions that can be employed immediately in the Wolfram Language. Since then, the Repository has grown to include more than 1,000 functions in over 20 categories.

Functions included in the Repository range from those that are more general and utilitarian in nature to others with very specific applications. As with all Wolfram Language functions, Repository documentation pages contain examples showing how to use the functions. We’re featuring a few of the functions submitted to the Repository so far that showcase the variety of functions our users have built.

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Zoe Goldenfeld

15 Ways Wolfram|Alpha Can Help with Your Classes

February 20, 2020 — Zoe Goldenfeld, Business Analysis

15 Ways Wolfram|Alpha Can Help with Your Classes

We all know Wolfram|Alpha is great for solving calculations and math problems, but not everyone knows about the full breadth of useful data it provides. I entered college as a biology major and was quickly overwhelmed with the amount of information I had to memorize. Class lectures moved at a fast pace, and often my notes had gaps in them where I hadn’t finished writing down what the professor was saying before she moved on. I was up late at night making flashcards for tests and searching desperately through Yahoo! Answers, trying to find information like what exactly the alimentary system does (hint: it “functions in food ingestion and digestion; absorption of water and nutrients; secretion of water, acids, enzymes, buffers and salts; waste excretion; and energy storage”—thanks, Wolfram|Alpha!).

Thinking back on those late-night study sessions, I would have saved a lot of time if I had properly used Wolfram|Alpha as a study tool. Because I was a biology major, many of the areas in which I most frequently sought information were related to scientific fields such as chemistry, but Wolfram|Alpha can be a valuable resource in so many more areas. Here are 15 applications of Wolfram|Alpha in topics beyond mathematics. I hope you will find these to be useful both inside and outside the classroom!

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Ed Pegg Jr

Hitting All the Marks: Exploring New Bounds for Sparse Rulers and a Wolfram Language Proof

February 12, 2020 — Ed Pegg Jr, Editor, Wolfram Demonstrations Project

New Bound for Sparse Rulers Proof using the Wolfram Language

The sparse ruler problem has been famously worked on by Paul Erdős, Marcel J. E. Golay, John Leech, Alfréd Rényi, László Rédei and Solomon W. Golomb, among many others. The problem is this: what is the smallest subset of so that the unsigned pairwise differences of give all values from 1 to ? One way to look at this is to imagine a blank yardstick. At what positions on the yardstick would you add 10 marks, so that you can measure any number of inches up to 36?

Another simple example is of size 3, which has differences , and . The sets of size 2 have only one difference. The minimal subset is not unique; the differences of also give .

Part of what makes the sparse ruler problem so compelling is its embodiment in an object inside every schoolchild’s desk—and its enduring appeal lies in its deceptive simplicity. Read on to see precisely just how complicated rulers, marks and recipes can be.

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Brian Wood

Democratic Presidential Debate Analysis Using the Wolfram Language

February 6, 2020 — Brian Wood, Lead Technical Writer, Document and Media Systems

When 20 presidential candidates duke it out on the debate stage, who wins? Americans have been watching a crowded and contentious primary season for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. After the debates, everyone’s talking about who got the most talk time or attention, which exchanges were most exciting or some other measure of who “won” the night—and who might ultimately clinch a victory at the caucuses. So I decided I’d do a little exploration of the debates using the entity framework, text analytics and graph capabilities of the Wolfram Language and see if I could come up with my own measure of a “win” for a debate, based on which candidate was most central to the conversation.

Democratic Presidential Debate Analysis Using the Wolfram Language

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Shadi Ashnai
Mariusz Jankowski

Advance Your Image Processing Knowledge with the Latest Wolfram U Course

January 31, 2020
Shadi Ashnai, Manager of Sound & Vision, Algorithms R&D
Mariusz Jankowski, Algorithms R&D

Advance Your Image Processing Knowledge with the Latest Wolfram U Course

Today, the world around us is being captured by imaging devices ranging from cell phones and action cameras to microscopes and telescopes. With ever-increasing generation of images, image processing and automatic image analysis are used in a wide range of individual, academic and industry applications.

We are excited to announce Introduction to Image Processing, a free interactive course from Wolfram U, which makes cutting-edge image processing simple with graphical and visual examples that demonstrate how image operations work. It includes 14 video lessons, each lasting 20 minutes or fewer, and 5 short quizzes, as well as a certificate for finishing all course materials. Topics range from how to control brightness and contrast or crop and resize images, to advanced topics including segmentation, image enhancement, feature detection and using machine learning to perform modern image processing—no machine learning knowledge necessary!

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