We originally invented the concept of “Notebooks” back in 1987, for Version 1.0 of Mathematica. And over the past 36 years, Notebooks have proved to be an incredibly convenient medium in which to do—and publish—work (and indeed, I, for example, have created hundreds of thousands of them). And, yes, eventually the basic concepts of Notebooks […]
Prompts are how one channels an LLM to do something. LLMs in a sense always have lots of “latent capability” (e.g. from their training on billions of webpages). But prompts—in a way that’s still scientifically mysterious—are what let one “engineer” what part of that capability to bring out.
Look What We Made in Five Months!
It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 35 years, building a taller and taller tower of ideas and technology that allow us to reach ever further. In earlier times we used to release the results of efforts only every few years. But in recent times we’ve started doing incremental (“.1”) releases that deliver our latest R&D achievements—both fully fleshed out, and partly as “coming attractions”—much more frequently.
We released Version 12.2 on December 16, 2020. And today, just five months later, we’re releasing Version 12.3. There are some breakthroughs and major new directions in 12.3. But much of what’s in 12.3 is just about making Wolfram Language and Mathematica better, smoother and more convenient to use. Things are faster. More “But what about ___?” cases are handled. Big frameworks are more completely filled out. And there are lots of new conveniences.
There are also the first pieces of what will become large-scale structures in the future. Early functions—already highly useful in their own right—that will in future releases be pieces of major systemwide frameworks.
How's It Going?
When we launched the Wolfram Physics Project a year ago today, I was fairly certain that---to my great surprise---we’d finally found a path to a truly fundamental theory of physics, and it was beautiful. A year later it’s looking even better. We’ve been steadily understanding more and more about the structure and implications of our models---and they continue to fit beautifully with what we already know about physics, particularly connecting with some of the most elegant existing approaches, strengthening and extending them, and involving the communities that have developed them.
And if fundamental physics wasn’t enough, it’s also become clear that our models and formalism can be applied even beyond physics---suggesting major new approaches to several other fields, as well as allowing ideas and intuition from those fields to be brought to bear on understanding physics.
Needless to say, there is much hard work still to be done. But a year into the process I’m completely certain that we’re “climbing the right mountain”. And the view from where we are so far is already quite spectacular.
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.
Yet Bigger than Ever Before
When we released Version 12.1 in March of this year, I was pleased to be able to say that with its 182 new functions it was the biggest .1 release we’d ever had. But just nine months later, we’ve got an even bigger .1 release! Version 12.2, launching today, has 228 completely new functions!
Wolfram Notebooks on the Web
We've been working towards it for many years, but now it's finally here: an incredibly smooth workflow for publishing Wolfram Notebooks to the web---that makes possible a new level of interactive publishing and computation-enabled communication.
You create a Wolfram Notebook---using all the power of the Wolfram Language and the Wolfram Notebook system---on the desktop or in the cloud. Then you just press a button to publish it to the Wolfram Cloud---and immediately anyone anywhere can both read and interact with it on the web.
It's an unprecedentedly easy way to get rich, interactive, computational content onto the web. And---together with the power of the Wolfram Language as a computational language---it promises to usher in a new era of computational communication, and to be a crucial driver for the development of "computational X" fields.