Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Design

Computation & Analysis

3D Printing “Spikey” Commemorative Coins with the Wolfram Language

I approached my friend Frederick Wu and suggested that we should make a physical Wolfram Spikey Coin (not to be confused with a Wolfram Blockchain Token!) for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Mathematica. Frederick is a long-term Mathematica user and coin collector, and together, we challenged ourselves to design our own commemorative coin for such a special event.

The iconic Spikey is a life-long companion of Mathematica, coined (no pun intended) in 1988 with the release of Version 1. Now, we’ve reached a time in which Wolfram technologies and different 3D printing processes happily marry together to make this project possible!
Computation & Analysis

Four Minecraft Projects with the Wolfram Language

A couple of weeks ago I shared a package for controlling the Raspberry Pi version of Minecraft from Mathematica (either on the Pi or from another computer). You can control the Minecraft API from lots of languages, but the Wolfram Language is very well aligned to this task—both because the rich, literate, multiparadigm style of the language makes it great for learning coding, and because its high-level data and computation features let you get exciting results very quickly.

Today, I wanted to share four fun Minecraft project ideas that I had, together with simple code for achieving them. There are also some ideas for taking the projects further.
Computation & Analysis

Programming Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi

The standard Raspbian software on the Raspberry Pi comes with a basic implementation of Minecraft and a full implementation of the Wolfram Language. Combining the two provides a fun playground for learning coding. If you are a gamer, you can use the richness of the Wolfram Language to programmatically generate all kinds of interesting structures in the game world, or to add new capabilities to the game. If you are a coder, then you can consider Minecraft just as a fun 3D rendering engine for the output of your code.

Current Events & History

The Wolfram Language Bridges Mathematics and the Arts

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.
Announcements & Events

The Practical Business of Ontology: A Tale from the Front Lines

The Philosophy of Chemicals

"We've just got to decide: is a chemical like a city or like a number?" I spent my day yesterday---as I have for much of the past 30 years---designing new features of the Wolfram Language. And yesterday afternoon one of my meetings was a fast-paced discussion about how to extend the chemistry capabilities of the language. At some level the problem we were discussing was quintessentially practical. But as so often turns out to be the case for things we do, it ultimately involves some deep intellectual issues. And to actually get the right answer---and to successfully design language features that will stand the test of time---we needed to plumb those depths, and talk about things that usually wouldn't be considered outside of some kind of philosophy seminar.
Current Events & History

Celebrating Gottfried Leibniz on the 300th Anniversary of His Death

Today is the 300th anniversary of the death of Gottfried Leibniz, a man whose work has had a deep influence on what we do here at Wolfram Research. He was born July 1, 1646, in Leipzig, and died November 14, 1716, in Hanover, which was, at the time, part of the Holy Roman Empire. I associate his name most strongly with my time learning calculus, which he invented in parallel with Isaac Newton. But Leibniz was a polymath, and his ideas and influence were much broader than that. He invented binary numbers, the integral sign and an early form of mechanical calculator.
Academics

Draw Anything and Win Hackathons with the Wolfram Language

After 36 hours, two math graduate students created Draw Anything, the grand prize--winning, Wolfram Cloud--powered app, at the MHacks V hackathon. We've written about Olivia Walch and Matt Jacobs's winning iOS app before. Now, the pair of prize-winning Wolfram hackers have taken the time to talk with us about how they used the Wolfram Language and fast Fourier transforms to create step-by-step drawing guides for any input image---whether it's a picture of Homer Simpson, a dog, yourself or your future dream car.
Computation & Analysis

Computational Stippling: Can Machines Do as Well as Humans?

Stippling is a kind of drawing style using only points to mimic lines, edges, and grayscale. The entire drawing consists only of dots on a white background. The density of the points gives the impression of grayscale shading. Back in 1510, stippling was first invented as an engraving technique, and then became popular in many fields because it requires just one color of ink. Here is a photo of a fine example taken from an exhibition of lithography and copperplate art (the Centenary of European Engraving Exhibition held at the Hubei Museum of Art in March 2015; in case you're curious, here is the museum's official page in English).