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Recreational Computation

Current Events & History

The Solution of the Zodiac Killer’s 340-Character Cipher

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.

Academics

3D-Printed Jewelry Made with the Wolfram Language Showcases the Beauty of Mathematics

I enjoy turning mathematical concepts into wearable pieces of art. That’s the idea behind my business, Hanusa Design. I make unique products that feature striking designs inspired by the beauty and precision of mathematics. These pieces are created using the range of functionality in the Wolfram Language. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we recently launched Spikey earrings in the Wolfram Store, which are available in rose gold–plated brass and red nylon. In this blog, I’ll give a look under the hood and discuss how an idea becomes a product through the Wolfram Language.

Announcements & Events

The Advention of Coding: Advent of Code Solutions in the Wolfram Language

Editor’s note: The following post is based on the 2020 Advent of Code challenge, “an Advent calendar of small programming puzzles for a variety of skill sets and skill levels that can be solved in any programming language you like.” Guest author Philip Maymin delves into why he chose to use the Wolfram Language to solve these queries with a how-to on learning the language.

Computation & Analysis

Deploy a Neural Network to Your iOS Device Using the Wolfram Language

Today’s handheld devices are powerful enough to run neural networks locally without the need for a cloud server connection, which can be a great convenience when you’re on the go. Deploying and running a custom neural network on your phone or tablet is not straightforward, though, and the process depends on the operating system of the machine. In this post, I will focus on iOS devices and walk you through all the necessary steps to train a custom image classifier neural network model using the Wolfram Language, export it through ONNX (new in Version 12.2), convert it to Core ML (Apple’s machine learning framework for iOS apps) and finally deploy it to your iPhone or iPad.

Computation & Analysis

Data Science at Home: Leverage Wolfram’s Device Integration to Analyze Your Vehicle’s Performance

Cars are getting smarter and more connected, yet how much have you explored the technology that helps run our vehicles? I was curious to see how I could connect to my vehicle’s communication center and what kind of interface I could create in Wolfram Notebooks to report on the data gathered.

Current Events & History

2020’s Winter Solstice Hosts the Greatest Conjunction in Nearly Four Hundred Years

On December 21, 2020, a visual astronomical spectacle will occur. The planets Jupiter and Saturn will pass so close to each other in the sky that, to the unaided eye, they will be difficult to separate. This is the closest the two planets have come in 397 years; the last time they were this close was July 16, 1623. When Jupiter and Saturn come close to each other in the sky as seen from Earth, this is known as a “great conjunction” and happens about every 20 years or so. But not all great conjunctions are as close as this one. The next great conjunction will be on November 5, 2040, and again on April 10, 2060, but the planets will be a bit over a degree apart, so not as close as the 2020 event. The next comparable event will be on March 15, 2080.

Announcements & Events

A Virtual Face-off: Replaying the 2020 Livecoding Championship

In early October, by what at this point can only be a time-honored tradition, the Livecoding Championship returned in its fifth annual iteration as a special event during the 2020 Wolfram Technology Conference. As in preceding years, the championship offered top Wolfram Language programmers a chance to show off their knowledge, agility, typing speed and documentation-reading skills to an unfailingly adoring audience.

Follow along with this post by watching this recorded video of the 2020 Livecoding Championship livestream!

Best of Blog

How Odd Was the Full Moon on Halloween 2020? Once in a Blue Moon and a Lifetime!

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.

Best of Blog

The Winners of the 2020 One-Liner Competition

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.