April 12, 2018 — Stephen Wolfram
The more one does computational thinking, the better one gets at it. And today we’re launching the Wolfram Challenges site to give everyone a source of bite-sized computational thinking challenges based on the Wolfram Language. Use them to learn. Use them to stay sharp. Use them to prove how great you are.
The Challenges typically have the form: “Write a function to do X”. But because we’re using the Wolfram Language—with all its built-in computational intelligence—it’s easy to make the X be remarkably sophisticated.
The site has a range of levels of Challenges. Some are good for beginners, while others will require serious effort even for experienced programmers and computational thinkers. Typically each Challenge has at least some known solution that’s at most a few lines of Wolfram Language code. But what are those lines of code?
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.
December 28, 2017 — Kevin Daily, Wolfram Technology Group, Team Lead
An earlier version of this post appeared on Wolfram Community, where the creation of a game interface earned the author a staff pick from the forum moderators. Be sure to head over to Wolfram Community and check out other innovative uses of the Wolfram Language!
If you like video games and you’re interested in designing them, you should know that the Wolfram Language is great at making dynamic interfaces. I’ve taken a simple game, reproduced it and modded it with ease. Yes, it’s true—interactive games are yet another avenue for creative people to use the versatile Wolfram Language to fulfill their electronic visions.
The game I’m using for this demonstration is Flappy Bird, a well-known mobile game with a simple yet captivating interactive element that has helped many people kill a lot of time. The goal of the game is to navigate a series of pipes, where each successful pass adds a point to your score. The challenge is that the character, the bird, is not so easy to control. Gravity is constantly pulling it down. You “flap” to boost yourself upward by repeatedly tapping the screen, but you must accurately time your flaps to navigate the narrow gaps between pipes.
So follow along and see what kind of graphical gaming mayhem is possible in just a few short lines of code!
December 22, 2017 — Micah Lindley, Junior Research Programmer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
In recent years there’s been a growing interest in the intersection of food and technology. However, many of the new technologies used in the kitchen are cooking tools and devices such as immersion circulators, silicone steam baskets and pressure ovens. Here at Wolfram, our approach has been a bit different, with a focus on providing tools that can query for, organize, visualize and compute data about food, cooking and nutrition.
Last Christmas I went home to Tucson, Arizona, to spend time with my family over the holidays. Because I studied the culinary arts and food science, I was quickly enlisted to cook Christmas dinner. There were going to be a lot of us at my parents’ house, so I was aware this would be no small task. But I curate food and nutrition data for Wolfram|Alpha, so I knew the Wolfram technology stack had some excellent resources for pulling off this big meal without a hitch.
December 14, 2017 — Michael Gammon, Blog Administrator, Document and Media Systems
The Wolfram Community group dedicated to visual arts is abound with technically and aesthetically stunning contributions. Many of these posts come from prolific contributor Clayton Shonkwiler, who has racked up over 75 “staff pick” accolades. Recently I got the chance to interview him and learn more about the role of the Wolfram Language in his art and creative process. But first, I asked Wolfram Community’s staff lead, Vitaliy Kaurov, what makes Shonkwiler a standout among mathematical artists.
November 20, 2017 — Jon McLoone, Director, Technical Communication & Strategy
The classic board game Risk involves conquering the world by winning battles that are played out using dice. There are lots of places on the web where you can find out the odds of winning a battle given the number of armies that each player has. However, all the ones that I have seen do this by Monte Carlo simulation, and so are innately approximate. The Wolfram Language makes it so easy to work out the exact values that I couldn’t resist calculating them once and for all.
November 8, 2017 — Christopher Carlson, Senior User Interface Developer, User Interfaces
The One-Liner Competition is a tradition at our annual Wolfram Technology Conference, which took place at our headquarters in Champaign, Illinois, two weeks ago. We challenge attendees to show us the most impressive effects they can achieve with 128 characters or fewer of Wolfram Language code. We are never disappointed, and often surprised by what they show us can be done with the language we work so hard to develop—the language we think is the world’s most powerful and fun.
This year’s winning submissions included melting flags, computer vision and poetry. Read on to see how far you can go with just a few characters of Wolfram Language code…
June 22, 2017 — Andrew Steinacher, Lead Developer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
When I first started driving in high school, I had to pay for my own gas. Since I was also saving for college, I had to be careful about my spending, so I started manually tracking how much I was paying for gas in a spreadsheet and calculating how much gas I was using. Whenever I filled my tank, I kept the receipts and wrote down how many miles I’d traveled and how many gallons I’d used. Every few weeks, I would manually enter all of this information into the spreadsheet and plot out the costs and the amount of fuel I had used. This process helped me both visualize how much money I was spending on fuel and manage my budget.
Once I got to college, however, I got a more fuel-efficient car and my schedule got a lot busier, so I didn’t have the time to track my fuel consumption like this anymore. Now I work at Wolfram Research and I’m still really busy, but the cool thing is that I can use our company technology to more easily accomplish my automotive assessments.
March 2, 2017 — Håkan Wettergren, Applications Engineer, SystemModeler (MathCore)
Until now, it has been difficult for the average engineer to perform simple vibration analysis. The initial cost for simple equipment, including software, may be several thousand dollars—and it is not unusual for advanced equipment and software to cost ten times as much. Normally, a vibration specialist starts an investigation with a hammer impact test. An accelerometer is mounted on a structure, and a special impact hammer is used to excite the structure at several locations in the simplest and most common form of hammer impact testing. The accelerometer and hammer-force signals are recorded. Modal analysis is then used to get a preliminary understanding of the behavior of the system. The minimum equipment requirements for such a test are an accelerometer, an impact hammer, amplifiers, a signal recorder and analysis software.
I’ve figured out how to use the Wolfram Language on my smartphone to sample and analyze machine vibration and noise, and to perform surprisingly good vibration analysis. I’ll show you how, and give you some simple Wolfram Language code to get you started.
February 23, 2017 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist
And How Many Animals, Animal Heads, Human Faces, Aliens and Ghosts in Their 2D Projections?
In my recent Wolfram Community post, “How many animals can one find in a random image?,” I looked into the pareidolia phenomenon from the viewpoints of pixel clusters in random (2D) black-and-white images. Here are some of the shapes I found, extracted, rotated, smoothed and colored from the connected black pixel clusters of a single 800×800 image of randomly chosen, uncorrelated black-and-white pixels.