September 5, 2019 — Daniel Lichtblau, Symbolic Algorithms Developer, Algorithms R&D
A Year Ago Today
On September 5 of last year, The New York Times took the unusual step of publishing an op-ed anonymously. It began “I Am Part of the Resistance inside the Trump Administration,” and quickly became known as the “Resistance” op-ed. From the start, there was wide‐ranging speculation as to who might have been the author(s); to this day, that has not been settled. (Spoiler alert: it will not be settled in this blog post, either. But that’s getting ahead of things.) When I learned of this op-ed, the first thing that came to mind, of course, was, “I wonder if authorship attribution software could….” This was followed by, “Well, of course it could. If given the right training data.” When time permitted, I had a look on the internet into where one might find training data, and for that matter who were the people to consider for the pool of candidate authors. I found at least a couple of blog posts that mentioned the possibility of using tweets from administration officials. One gave a preliminary analysis (with President Trump himself receiving the highest score, though by a narrow margin—go figure). It even provided a means of downloading a dataset that the poster had gone to some work to cull from the Twitter site.
The code from that blog was in a language/script in which I am not fluent. My coauthor on two authorship attribution papers (and other work), Catalin Stoean, was able to download the data successfully. I first did some quick validation (to be seen) and got solid results. Upon setting the software loose on the op-ed in question, a clear winner emerged. So for a short time I “knew” who wrote that piece. Except. I decided more serious testing was required.
April 4, 2019 — Dan McDonald, Lead Developer, Synthetic Geometry Project
Version 12 of the Wolfram Language introduces the functions GeometricScene, RandomInstance and FindGeometricConjectures for representing, drawing and reasoning about problems in plane geometry. In particular, abstract scene descriptions can be automatically supplied with coordinate values to produce diagrams satisfying the conditions of the scene. Let’s apply this functionality to some of the articles and problems about geometry appearing in the issues of The American Mathematical Monthly from February and March of 2019.
March 29, 2019 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
In the so-called “new SI,” the updated version of the International System of Units that will define the seven base units (second, meter, kilogram, ampere, kelvin, mole and candela) and that goes into effect May 20 of 2019, all SI units will be definitionally based on exact values of fundamental constants of physics. And as a result, all the named units of the SI (newton, volt, ohm, pascal, etc.) will ultimately be expressible through fundamental constants. (Finally, fundamental physics will be literally ruling our daily life 😁.)
Here is how things will change from the evening of Monday, May 20, to the morning of Tuesday, May 21, of this year.
November 16, 2018 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
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.
November 13, 2018 — Jesika Brooks, Blog Editor - EduTech, Public Relations
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.
August 9, 2018 — Swede White, Public Relations Manager
Code for America’s National Day of Civic Hacking is coming up on August 11, 2018, which presents a nice opportunity for individuals and teams of all skill levels to participate in the Safe Drinking Water Data Challenge—a program Wolfram is supporting through free access to Wolfram|One and by hosting relevant structured datasets in the Wolfram Data Repository.
According to the state of California, some 200,000 residents of the state have unsafe drinking water coming out of their taps. While the Safe Drinking Water Data Challenge focuses on California, data science solutions could have impacts and applications for providing greater access to potable water in other areas with similar problems.
The goal of this post is to show how Wolfram technologies make it easy to grab data and ask questions of it, so we’ll be taking a multiparadigm approach and allowing our analysis to be driven by those questions in an exploratory analysis, a way to quickly get familiar with the data.
January 26, 2018 — Christopher Carlson, Senior User Interface Developer, User Interfaces
Every summer, 200-some artists, mathematicians and technologists gather at the Bridges conference to celebrate connections between mathematics and the arts. It’s five exuberant days of sharing, exploring, puzzling, building, playing and discussing diverse artistic domains, from poetry to sculpture.
The Wolfram Language is essential to many Bridges attendees’ work. It’s used to explore ideas, puzzle out technical details, design prototypes and produce output that controls production machines. It’s applied to sculpture, graphics, origami, painting, weaving, quilting—even baking.
In the many years I’ve attended the Bridges conferences, I’ve enjoyed hearing about these diverse applications of the Wolfram Language in the arts. Here is a selection of Bridges artists’ work.
I love to run. A lot. And many of my coworkers do too. You can find us everywhere, and all the time: on roads, in parks, on hills and mountains, and even running up and down parking decks, a flat lander’s version of hills. And if there is a marathon to be run, we’ll be there as well. With all of the internal interest in running marathons, Wolfram Research created this Marathon Viewer as a sponsorship project for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon.
Here are four of us, shown as dots, participating in the 2017 Illinois Marathon:
How did the above animation and the in-depth look at our performance come about? Read on to find out.
August 14, 2017 — Jeffrey Bryant, Research Programmer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
The upcoming August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse is a fascinating event in its own right. It’s also interesting to note that on April 8, 2024, there will be another total solar eclipse whose path will cut nearly perpendicular to the one this year.
August 8, 2017 — Jeffrey Bryant, Research Programmer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
On August 21, 2017, an event will happen across parts of the Western Hemisphere that has not been seen by most people in their lifetimes. A total eclipse of the Sun will sweep across the face of the United States and nearby oceans. Although eclipses of this type are not uncommon across the world, the chance of one happening near you is quite small and is often a once-in-a-lifetime event unless you happen to travel the world regularly. This year, the total eclipse will be within driving distance of most people in the lower 48 states.