February 20, 2020 — Zoe Goldenfeld, Business Analysis
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!
January 3, 2020 — Tom Sherlock, User Interface Developer, User Interfaces
Stellar CCD aperture photometry is the technique of extracting information about the brightness of stars from a series of images collected over time. The light curve of a variable star can reveal useful information about the physics of the star, including a measure of its intrinsic brightness. Light curve analysis can yield information about eclipsing binary systems, and also lead to exoplanet discoveries when a planet alters the brightness of a star by crossing its disk as viewed from Earth.
In CCD photometry, we want to be able to determine a measure of the amount of radiation coming from a given star arriving on our CCD detector. Plotted as a function of time, this measurement can reveal important information about the star or star system.
December 23, 2019 — Jon McLoone, Director, Technical Communication & Strategy
For many of us, programming represents leisure time just as much as work. Here at Wolfram, we have an incredibly creative group with a wide variety of hobbies, on the screen and off—including textile arts like cross-stitch. So when my colleague Jay suggested that I create a cross-stitch program using the Wolfram Language, I replied with “Challenge accepted!” Jay was looking for a simple way to generate a cross-stitch pattern from a photograph—or really any image—with the colors corresponding to the DMC thread ID numbers. We both knew that the image-processing capabilities of the Wolfram Language would make this an easy task, but incorporating the DMC thread catalog seemed a more interesting challenge. Armed with both computer and (virtual) thread, I set out on my quest to create the perfect cross-stitch pattern generator.
December 18, 2019 — Daniel Bigham, Business Systems R&D
When people think about Wolfram technology, corporate enterprise resource management (ERP) isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It certainly wasn’t our first thought when we started searching for a new solution to manage our own accounting, customer service, licensing and HR needs. But after looking at the current ERP offerings, we found that none of the existing buy-in options did what we wanted.
So we thought, why not build our own?
The resulting project has been a revelation. Not only have we built something to our taste, but something fundamentally different: a new architecture, new interfaces, a new approach. Using Wolfram technology has not only made development easier; it has given us a revolutionary new perspective. By leveraging our uniquely powerful technology stack—and integrating it tightly with the existing infrastructure—we’re redefining what an ERP system can be.
December 5, 2019 — Christopher Carlson, Senior User Interface Developer, User Interfaces
This year’s Wolfram Technology Conference was host to the eighth annual One-Liner Competition, an event where attendees show us the most astounding things they can accomplish with 128 or fewer characters of Wolfram Language code. Submissions included games, card tricks and yoga exercises, all implemented with less than one tweet’s worth of the Wolfram Language.
It’s rare to hear polygons mentioned in a physics class, even in higher education. This may seem unexpected given the fundamental role they play in mathematics. However, over the last few years, polygons have come to the front line in many areas of theoretical physics, helping us understand the laws of nature with their astonishing beauty.
This is particularly true in the field of particle physics, where a new geometrical object has been found to be connected to particle dynamics: the amplituhedron. It represents a novelty not only in physics but also in mathematics, generalizing the concept of a convex polygon. In this blog post, I will first discuss its relation to particle physics, and then how to visualize its geometry using the Wolfram Language.
November 7, 2019 — Paritosh Mokhasi, Kernel Developer, Algorithms R&D
My student days learning fluid dynamics were all about studying complicated equations and various methods of simplifying and manipulating these equations to get some kind of a result. Unfortunately, this left very little to the imagination when it came to getting an intuitive feel for how a fluid would behave in different situations. When I took my first experimental fluid dynamics course, I got to see how one would use different visualization techniques to understand qualitatively the behavior of the flow. These visualizations gave me a way of creatively looking at a flow, and, as an added bonus, they looked stunning. All these experiments and visualizations were being carried out inside a wind tunnel.
November 5, 2019 — Anthony Zupnik, Kernel Developer, Compiler Development
Microsoft Excel is among the most popular tools in the world. For non-technical and advanced users aspiring to extend beyond Excel’s built-in feature set, we’re proud to announce the easiest and most productive tool for doing so: Wolfram CloudConnector for Excel, now available to anyone running Excel on a Windows system. You can access the advanced computational power of the Wolfram Language for your data directly from your spreadsheets.
October 4, 2019 — Brian Wood, Lead Technical Writer, Document and Media Systems
Robert Prince-Wright has been using Mathematica since its debut in 1988 to develop computational tools in education, business consulting and offshore engineering. We recently talked to Prince-Wright about his work developing simulation models for deepwater drilling equipment at safety and systems engineering company Berkeley & Imperial.
His latest work is cutting edge—but it’s only part of the story. Throughout his career, Prince-Wright has used Wolfram technologies for “modeling systems as varied as downhole wellbore trajectory, radionuclide dispersion and PID control of automation systems.” Read on to learn more about Prince-Wright’s accomplishments and discover why Wolfram technology is his go-to for developing unique computational solutions.
August 2, 2019 — Bob Sandheinrich, Development Manager, Document & Media Systems
Every summer, I play in a recreational Ultimate Frisbee league—just “Ultimate” to those who play. It’s a fun, relaxed, coed league where I tend to win more friends than games.
The league is organized by volunteers, and one year, my friend and teammate Nate was volunteered to coordinate it. A couple weeks before the start of the season, Nate came to me with some desperation in his voice over making the teams. The league allows each player to request to play with up to eight other players—disparagingly referred to as their “baggage.” And Nate discovered that with over 100 players in a league, each one requesting a different combination of teammates, creating teams that would please everyone seemed to become more complicated by the minute.
Luckily for him, the Wolfram Language has a suite of graph and network tools for things like social media. I recognized that this seemingly overwhelming problem was actually a fairly simple graph problem. I asked Nate for the data, spent an evening working in a notebook and sent him the teams that night.