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Announcements & Events

Duking It Out in the Wolfram Language: A Breakdown of the 2019 Livecoding Championship

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of returning as a commentator for the fourth annual Livecoding Championship, a special event held during the 2019 Wolfram Technology Conference. We had such an incredible turnout this year, with 27 total participants and 14 earning at least one point! Conference attendees and Wolfram staff competed for the title of Livecoding Champion, with seven questions (plus one tiebreaker!) challenging their speed, agility and knowledge of the Wolfram Language. It was a high-spirited battle for first place, and while I had prepared “answer key” solutions in advance, I always look forward to the creativity and cleverness that competitors demonstrate in their wide range of approaches to each question.

By popular request, in addition to revisiting the questions, I’ll walk you through how competitors reached their solutions and earned their points, as a kind of “study guide” for next year’s aspiring champions. So hold on to your keyboards—we’re going in!

Announcements & Events

Wolfram Technology Conference 2019: It’s a Wrap!

It’s been a whirlwind week of talks, training, workshops, networking and special events, and we’ve just closed another successful Wolfram Technology Conference! The week offered a multitude of opportunities for attendees and internal staff alike to connect, learn and enjoy unique experiences one can only get in Champaign, Illinois, every October. I’m happy to provide some highlights from the week and invite you to save the date to join us next year: October 6–9, 2020.

We began this week with pre-conference training on topics from machine learning and neural networks to application building and “Computational X,” offering headquarters tours and an opening reception before the “real” conference even began. Monday’s opening keynote by CEO Stephen Wolfram covered a ton of ground, from a Version 12 recap to a roadmap of things to come. True to tradition, Stephen uncovered bugs in pre-release versions of our software, livecoded examples and gave the audience so much to look forward to.

Education & Academic

A Tale of Three Cosines—An Experimental Mathematics Adventure

Identifying Peaks in Distributions of Zeros and Extrema of Almost-Periodic Functions: Inspired by Answering a MathOverflow Question

One of the Holy Grails of mathematics is the Riemann zeta function, especially its zeros. One representation of is the infinite sum . In the last few years, the interest in partial sums of such infinite sums and their zeros has grown. A single cosine or sine function is periodic, and the distribution of its zeros is straightforward to describe. A sum of two cosine functions can be written as a product of two cosines, . Similarly, a sum of two sine functions can be written as a product of . This reduces the zero-finding of a sum of two cosines or sines to the case of a single one. A sum of three cosine or sine functions, , is already much more interesting.

Fifteen years ago, in the notes to chapter 4 of Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science, a log plot of the distribution of the zero distances... ... of the zero distribution of ---showing characteristic peaks---was shown.
Education & Academic

Launching the Wolfram Challenges Site

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?
Announcements & Events

Roaring into 2018 with Another Big Release: Launching Version 11.3 of the Wolfram Language & Mathematica

The Release Pipeline

Last September we released Version 11.2 of the Wolfram Language and Mathematica—with all sorts of new functionality, including 100+ completely new functions. Version 11.2 was a big release. But today we’ve got a still bigger release: Version 11.3 that, among other things, includes nearly 120 completely new functions.

This June 23rd it’ll be 30 years since we released Version 1.0, and I'm very proud of the fact that we’ve now been able to maintain an accelerating rate of innovation and development for no less than three decades. Critical to this, of course, has been the fact that we use the Wolfram Language to develop the Wolfram Language—and indeed most of the things that we can now add in Version 11.3 are only possible because we’re making use of the huge stack of technology that we’ve been systematically building for more than 30 years.

We’ve always got a large pipeline of R&D underway, and our strategy for .1 versions is to use them to release everything that’s ready at a particular moment in time. Sometimes what's in a .1 version may not completely fill out a new area, and some of the functions may be tagged as “experimental”. But our goal with .1 versions is to be able to deliver the latest fruits of our R&D efforts on as timely a basis as possible. Integer (.0) versions aim to be more systematic, and to provide full coverage of new areas, rounding out what has been delivered incrementally in .1 versions.

In addition to all the new functionality in 11.3, there’s a new element to our process. Starting a couple of months ago, we began livestreaming internal design review meetings that I held as we brought Version 11.3 to completion. So for those interested in “how the sausage is made”, there are now almost 122 hours of recorded meetings, from which you can find out exactly how some of the things you can now see released in Version 11.3 were originally invented. And in this post, I'm going to be linking to specific recorded livestreams relevant to features I'm discussing.

What’s New?

OK, so what’s new in Version 11.3? Well, a lot of things. And, by the way, Version 11.3 is available today on both desktop (Mac, Windows, Linux) and the Wolfram Cloud. (And yes, it takes extremely nontrivial software engineering, management and quality assurance to achieve simultaneous releases of this kind.)
Announcements & Events

Inside Scoops from the 2017 Wolfram Technology Conference

Two weeks ago at the Wolfram Technology Conference, a diverse lineup of hands-on training, workshops, talks and networking events were impressively orchestrated over the course of four days, culminating in a one-of-a-kind annual experience for users and enthusiasts of Wolfram technologies. It was a unique experience where researchers and professionals interacted directly with those who build each component of the Wolfram technology stack---Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, the Wolfram Language, Wolfram SystemModeler, Wolfram Enterprise Private Cloud and everything in between.
Education & Academic

My Wolfram Tech Conference 2016 Highlights

Here are just a handful of things I heard while attending my first Wolfram Technology Conference: "We had a nearly 4-billion-time speedup on this code example." "We've worked together for over 9 years, and now we're finally meeting!" "Coding in the Wolfram Language is like collaborating with 200 or 300 experts." "You can turn financial data into rap music. Instead, how about we turn rap music into financial data?" As a first-timer from the Wolfram Blog Team attending the Technology Conference, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights for me---making new friends, watching Wolfram Language experts code and seeing what the Wolfram family has been up to around the world this past year.