Halloween this year had a surprise up its sleeve. In rare celestial serendipity, the night of costume metamorphosis also featured a full moon, which helped to conjure the spooky mood. Because it might have been the first and last full-moon Halloween that some people witnessed in their lifetime (cue ominous music), I think it was significantly underrated. Moreover, it was the day of a blue moon (the second full moon within a month), but that is not a surprise, as any Halloween’s full moon is always a blue moon. The Moon’s color did not change, though, at least for those away from the smoke of volcanos and forest fires that are capable of turning it visibly blue. To appreciate the science and uniqueness of a full moon this Halloween, I built this visualization that tells the whole story in one picture. This is how I did it.
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Although this year’s Wolfram Technology Conference was virtual, that didn’t stop us from running the ninth annual One-Liner Competition, where attendees vie to produce the most amazing results they can with 128 or fewer characters of Wolfram Language code. Here are the winners, including an audio game, a hands-free 3D viewer and code that makes up countries.
A noteworthy achievement of artificial intelligence, since it is driven by artificial neural networks under the label deep learning, is the ability to create artistic works to generate images, text and sounds. At the core of this breakthrough is a basic method to train neural networks that was introduced by Ian Goodfellow in 2014 and was called by Yann LeCun “the most interesting idea in the last 10 years in machine learning”: generative adversarial networks (GANs). A GAN is a way to train a generative network that produces realistic-looking fake samples out of a latent seed, which can be some arbitrary data or random numbers sampled from a simple distribution. Let’s look at how to do so with some of the new capabilities developed for Mathematica Version 12.1.
Linear algebra is probably the easiest and the most useful branch of modern mathematics. Indeed, topics such as matrices and linear equations are often taught in middle or high school. On the other hand, concepts and techniques from linear algebra underlie cutting-edge disciplines such as data science and quantum computation. And in the field of numerical analysis, everything is linear algebra!
Today, I am proud to announce a free interactive course, Introduction to Linear Algebra, that will help students all over the world to master this wonderful subject. The course uses the powerful functions for matrix operations in the Wolfram Language and addresses questions such as "How long would it take to solve a system of 500 linear equations?" or "How does data compression work?"
Two Lines of Code to Bulletproof Encryption: Advancements in Cryptography Development in the Wolfram Language
If you’re studying chemistry or are in a discipline requiring chemistry prerequisite courses, then you know how expensive the required textbooks can be. To combat this, the chemical education community has developed open educational resources to provide free chemistry textbooks. However, although free textbooks keep cash in your wallet, they don’t include solution guides for all the homework problems.Luckily, the Step-by-Step Solutions feature of Wolfram|Alpha has got your back! Whether you’re studying remotely or collaborating via video conferencing, Wolfram|Alpha helps you learn and apply the problem-solving frameworks for chemical word problems. The step-by-step solutions provide stepwise solution guides that can be viewed one step at a time or all at once. The guides not only hone efficient problem solving, but also facilitate digging deeper into concepts that might still be murky.
I Never Expected This
It’s unexpected, surprising---and for me incredibly exciting. To be fair, at some level I've been working towards this for nearly 50 years. But it’s just in the last few months that it’s finally come together. And it’s much more wonderful, and beautiful, than I’d ever imagined.
In many ways it's the ultimate question in natural science: How does our universe work? Is there a fundamental theory? An incredible amount has been figured out about physics over the past few hundred years. But even with everything that's been done---and it's very impressive---we still, after all this time, don't have a truly fundamental theory of physics.
Back when I used do theoretical physics for a living, I must admit I didn't think much about trying to find a fundamental theory; I was more concerned about what we could figure out based on the theories we had. And somehow I think I imagined that if there was a fundamental theory, it would inevitably be very complicated.
When the world is in distress, Wolfram users turn to computation! Even in the midst of this global pandemic, Wolfram staff, friends and colleagues continue to show the power of computational curiosity. We’ve provided a centralized COVID-19 data and resources page, with ways to get free licenses for Wolfram technology through August, livestreamed multiparadigm explorations into the science and data behind the virus, computational explorations from Wolfram users and more. This resource will be continually updated, so make sure to check back often!Our community of staff and users have been incredibly active, creating their own innovative resources and exploring available data from many different angles. Wolfram Community gathers talented and experienced data scientists, biologists, chemists, supply chain experts, epidemiologists, mathematicians, physicists and more. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a flurry of activity and exploration, a willingness to share ideas and information, and mutual encouragement from industry professionals and high-school students alike.
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.