ARCHIVE: 2014
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
September 2, 2014– 0

This year, Wolfram is excited to be sponsoring the tenth anniversary of the annual Pygmalion Music Festival, which takes place in our hometown of Champaign–Urbana. If you aren’t familiar with Pygmalion, it’s a music festival held locally that brings together incredible musical artists, authors, and vendors in one amazing weekend. Of course, the music is always the focus, and to really get behind that, we’ve got a great way to interact with fans of both math and music.

We’re bringing back our Alpha Albums contest with new song lyrics (collected in collaboration with LyricFind) from some of the bands that will be featured at this year’s festival! What that means is that we take albums from the artists, enter a word cloud query request in Wolfram|Alpha for that album, and post the generated image in a tweet. From there, all you loyal fans will have one hour to submit your guesses via Twitter in an @-reply; at the end of the submission period, we will choose a random winner from the correct entries. More »

August 28, 2014– 0

I have always seen the beauty of chemistry from a scientific standpoint: strange shapes, eye-catching patterns, giant explosions… But it was not until I came to Wolfram|Alpha that I began to appreciate just how sleek chemistry is from a programming perspective. Just a few lines of code are needed to create some of the most startling phenomena and give life to elegant theories. More »

August 19, 2014– 3

In today’s blog post, we will use some of the new features of the Wolfram Language, such as language processing, geometric regions, map-making capabilities, and deploying forms to analyze and visualize the distribution of beer breweries and whiskey distilleries in the US. In particular, we want to answer the core question: for which fraction of the US is the nearest brewery further away than the nearest distillery?

Disclaimer: you may read, carry out, and modify inputs in this blog post independent of your age. Hands-on taste tests might require a certain minimal legal age (check your countries’ and states’ laws).

We start by importing two images from Wikipedia to set the theme; later we will use them on maps. More »

August 12, 2014– Comments Off Comments Off

Every four years for more than a century there’s been an International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) held somewhere in the world. In 1900 it was where David Hilbert announced his famous collection of math problems—and it’s remained the top single periodic gathering for the world’s research mathematicians.

This year the ICM is in Seoul, and I’m going to it today. I went to the ICM once before—in Kyoto in 1990. Mathematica was only two years old then, and mathematicians were just getting used to it. Plenty already used it extensively—but at the ICM there were also quite a few who said, “I do pure mathematics. How can Mathematica possibly help me?”

pure mathematics putting the pieces together More »

August 4, 2014– 3

We recently posted a blog entry celebrating the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. Now, just a couple weeks later, we are preparing for another first: the European Space Agency’s attempt to orbit and then land on a comet. The Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004 with the ultimate goal of orbiting and landing on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Since the launch, Rosetta has already flown by asteroid Steins, in 2008, and asteroid 21 Lutetia, in 2010.

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have a long history of sending probes to other solar system bodies that then orbit those bodies. The bodies have usually been nice, well-behaved, and spherical, making orbital calculations a fairly standard thing. But, as Rosetta recently started to approach comet 67P, we began to get our first views of this alien world. And it is far from spherical. More »

July 28, 2014– 2

It’s been a while since we looked at American Community Survey data in Wolfram|Alpha. Our first efforts included surveying ACS data related to education, income, and diversity, only touching the tip of the iceberg.

Recently, we took a deeper look at the data to unearth some of the least “average” communities in the US.

As you might guess, at the national level, female and male populations are split almost evenly (50.8% and 49.2%, respectively). But there are metropolitan communities in the US where the split doesn’t hew to the national average, and the ACS data in Wolfram|Alpha lets us find them.

Take Susanville, CA, for example. At just 34.5%, this community in Northern California has the smallest percentage of female residents in the US. More »

July 22, 2014– 0

Conrad Wolfram at TEDxHOP
Photography by Tracy Howl and Paul Clarke

Has our newfound massive availability of data improved decisions and lead to better democracy around the world? Most would say, “It’s highly questionable.”

Conrad Wolfram’s TEDx UK Parliament talk poses this question and explains how computation can be key to the answer, bridging the divide between availability and practical accessibility of data, individualized answers, and the democratization of new knowledge generation. This transformation will be critical not only to government efficiency and business effectiveness—but will fundamentally affect education, society, and democracy as a whole.

Wolfram|Alpha and Mathematica 10 demos feature throughout—including a live Wolfram Language generated tweet.

More about Wolfram’s solutions for your organization’s data »

July 21, 2014– 5

As summer heats up, we instinctively reach for the air conditioning (AC) controls. This miracle of modern technology lets us create a cool breeze to banish the crushing heat. At the same time, AC brings soaring electric bills. How can we optimize our use of air conditioning, keeping cool while minimizing our costs?

Wolfram|Alpha provides several helpful formulas in this area, the first of which is a method for calculating the degree days for a location over a period of time. Degree days is a measure of how often the temperature was above (for cooling) or below (for heating) a given temperature or range of temperatures. It is used in a wide range of climate and energy cost-related areas, from agriculture to monitoring the heating and cooling costs of climate-controlled buildings. More »

July 17, 2014– 0

Although I was born several years after the first Apollo Moon landing, the excitement surrounding the Apollo Moon landings and the space exploration enthusiasm it fostered drastically affected my childhood and shaped the direction my later life would follow. The space race, arguably peaking with the Apollo Moon landings, generated a funding explosion for science education that allowed many planetariums to be built and a phase of education encouragement that affected many of my generation. If we could land on the Moon, imagine what else we might achieve if we worked hard enough.

On July 20, we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. This landing began a sequence of Moon landings that ended with Apollo 17. We can leverage Wolfram|Alpha and the recently released Mathematica 10 to help us celebrate and continue exploring (data, in this case). The available data includes dates, crew information, and landing coordinates.

Let’s explore the crew information first. As with many famous people, Wolfram|Alpha gives a fair amount of information like birth dates and locations, pictures, time lines, height information, and familial information. More »

July 3, 2014– 2

July 4 is a big day in American history. Not just because it’s Independence Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but also because it’s the anniversary of several other historically important moments. More »

June 23, 2014– Comments Off Comments Off

Twenty-six years ago today we launched Mathematica 1.0. And I am excited that today we have what I think is another historic moment: the launch of Wolfram Programming Cloud—the first in a sequence of products based on the new Wolfram Language.

Wolfram Programming Cloud

My goal with the Wolfram Language in general—and Wolfram Programming Cloud in particular—is to redefine the process of programming, and to automate as much as possible, so that once a human can express what they want to do with sufficient clarity, all the details of how it is done should be handled automatically. More »

June 13, 2014– 3

In the United States and many other countries around the world, Father’s Day—the day we celebrate fatherhood and the important male figures in our lives—is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. This year, Father’s Day falls on June 15. More »

June 9, 2014– 0

To borrow a phrase from Donald himself: “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” The famous anthropomorphized duck created by Walt Disney Productions is celebrating a birthday today. At 80 years old, he’s outlived the oldest known domestic duck by 55 years!

Anas platrhynchos domestica More »

May 22, 2014– 1

Saturday, May 24, is the 170th anniversary of the day inventor Samuel Morse sent a very famous telegraphic message to Alfred Vail using Morse code. More »

May 15, 2014– 3

It’s that time of year—the torrential downpour of spring showers is paving the way for leafy trees and blooming flowers. While some may love getting caught in the rain, many of us are looking eagerly at the promise of sunshine and bonfires to come.

So what can you do to pass the time during the soggy days ahead?

Well, Wolfram|Alpha can help you figure out how best to stay dry! When you have no other choice but to venture out into the wet world around you, what can you do to minimize your chances of getting soaked? Should you walk or run that 100 yards to the car? Does it really make that big of a difference?

Well, if you walk a leisurely 1 mph, you will acquire 204.8 cubic centimeters of rainwater. Ugh. That’s like someone throwing a baseball-sized water balloon at you. More »

May 5, 2014– 0

Since baseball season is in full swing (…no pun intended…), we thought we’d catch you up with our extensive baseball data! From learning the score of last week’s game to comparing the stats of your favorite players in history, Wolfram|Alpha’s got you covered.

Starting way back in baseball history, the popular teams were quite different from the ones on the field today. Who was the leading team in 1884?
More »

April 28, 2014– 6

Are you looking to make a move in the near future? Budgeting for your next vacation? Before you go anywhere, check out Wolfram|Alpha’s data on costs of living and consumer goods. Whether you’re simply looking to get the most bang for your buck, or figuring out how your salary needs to change to maintain your lifestyle in a new city, look no further for some quick answers. More »

April 23, 2014– 1

There are plenty of old writers, poets, and playwrights whose works have stood the test of time—pieces that literary gurus still analyze and quote, and call “classics.” But few have remained so prominent that they have been a common household name for over 400 years. More »

April 21, 2014– 0

Every year, members of some of the biggest and most influential mathematics associations get together to dedicate the month of April to math awareness. The initiative was set in motion in 1986 by President Reagan, who said, “To help encourage the study and utilization of mathematics, it is appropriate that all Americans be reminded of the importance of this basic branch of science to our daily lives.”
More »

April 15, 2014– 0

Today is the birthday of two famous physicists, though that is not how they are commonly remembered. More »

April 1, 2014– 5

Hello, hello. Test, test… Success! It’s alive, it’s alive! (It being me, of course.) More »

March 27, 2014– 1

Spring has officially sprung in the Northern Hemisphere, which means two things right about now: 1) for most schools and students, spring break will be starting within the next few weeks, and 2) summer is right around the corner. Looking for a rewarding way to spend yours? Suggest a topic area you think Wolfram|Alpha should cover—on a subject relevant to a broad audience—and we just might invite you to work on it as a summer intern. More »

March 25, 2014– 1

Two weeks ago I spoke at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX. Here’s a slightly edited transcript (it’s the “speaker’s cut”, including some demos I had to abandon during the talk) More »

March 19, 2014– 5

Last week the weather here was pretty bizarre. Overnight, it went from 66°F and outdoor soccer matches to 28°F and a blanket of snow and ice. You know what else is pretty bizarre? Some of the things people can—and do—ask Wolfram|Alpha. So in case, like us, you’re stuck inside for a few more weeks of winter and in need of inspiration, read on for a few examples of some of the more… unique types of queries that you, too, can ask Wolfram|Alpha. More »

March 14, 2014– 4

Whether math is your favorite subject or the bane of your existence, we can think of at least one day on which you might look forward to math class. Every March 14, many teachers take it upon themselves to indulge students’ sugar cravings with a variety of pies, but not before forcing them into some kind of plate-measuring, digit-memorizing, or Pi-ku-writing event (yes, these are real things). More »

March 11, 2014– 3

Ever since we added Pokémon data to Wolfram|Alpha last fall, it’s been interesting to see the recurring traffic spikes as word spreads and the linkbacks on the interwebs continue to grow. You also wanted to know who are the most-searched Pokémon, so we thought we’d share an update on what our site data says so far. More »

March 3, 2014– 0

If you’re any kind of a movie fan, there’s a good chance that you spent last night watching Ellen DeGeneres and the 86th Academy Awards. If you still can’t get enough Oscars trivia, join us on Wolfram|Alpha to take a look through some of our Academy Awards data. More »

February 26, 2014– 4

Wolfram|Alpha is a great resource for learning about chemical reactions. We recently rolled out a brand new interface that allows you to easily search through our large database of reactions and explore classes of chemical reactions (such as combustion or oxidation reactions). And we also introduced new Step-by-step functionality to illustrate how to balance chemical reactions. More »

February 24, 2014– 0

We’re getting closer to the first official release of the Wolfram Language—so I am starting to demo it more publicly. More »

February 17, 2014– 0

The start of the XXII Olympic Winter Games means one thing for me: at least six hours a day of watching people ski down treacherous slopes, do crazy 720-degree spins with their snowboards, and perform triple toe loop jumps. Whether or not you’re spending every waking moment watching athletically superior individuals accomplish seemingly impossible feats, you can take this opportunity to explore some of Wolfram|Alpha’s math and physics calculators. Now Wolfram|Alpha can add a fun science and math spin to the Olympics. More »

February 14, 2014– 0

Happy Valentine’s Day from Wolfram|Alpha!

A user recently told us a rather unique love story: He used Wolfram|Alpha to look up the exact time of sunset for his location, so that the ambiance would be just right for when he proposed to his now wife. More »

February 12, 2014– 2

With the Super Bowl in the rear view mirror, this can be one of the slower times of the year when it comes to major American sports. We’re only a couple days away from the NBA All-Star Game, though, and it’s not much longer until MLB teams start shipping out to Arizona and Florida for spring training. While we wait, use some of your free time to explore our new historical data for basketball and baseball. More »

February 10, 2014– 0

We are happy to announce the Mathematica Summer Camp 2014! This camp, for advanced high school students entering grades 11 or 12, will be held at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts July 6–18. If you are ready for two weeks of coding fun, apply now on our website. Students who attend the camp have a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with Wolfram mentors in order to build their very own project in Mathematica. More »

February 7, 2014– 0

The 2014 Winter Olympics have begun! It’s time for the biennial celebration of stellar athletes and national pride. What events are you looking forward to this year? Personally, I am a huge fan of watching the bobsleigh courses. More »

February 3, 2014– 0

As the winter term kicks into gear, you might start hoping you had an ODE-solving pet monkey as the math and physics problem sets start piling up. Now, we do not offer ODE-solving primates at the moment, but we can help you with your differential equations problem sets. Wolfram|Alpha can solve a plethora of ODEs, each using multiple methods. More »

January 29, 2014– 0

Whether you’re trying to find the perfect word in Scrabble or study the languages of the world, Wolfram|Alpha has always provided computational insights into how we communicate. Now we’re taking that a step further—with data from the American Community Survey, we can take a closer look at where different languages are spoken in the United States. More »

January 27, 2014– 4

Wolfram|Alpha has been adding more step-by-step functionality to accommodate the needs of students at various levels of education. Now with Wolfram Problem Generator and Step-by-step solutions, students essentially have their own private tutor to help them better understand their homework and advance their knowledge. More »

January 20, 2014– 22

Over the last several months, one of the most-requested features for Wolfram|Alpha has been to add information about the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Well, you asked, and we’ve answered: Bitcoin data is here! More »

January 15, 2014– 6

Wolfram|Alpha Pro has become well known for its ability to show not only the answer to a question, but also the Step-by-step solution to show how to find the answer. Since its first release, we have developed new features and content for Step-by-step solutions. We’ve added hints and the ability to walk through problems one step at a time, and we’ve added support to show multiple methods for solving problems whenever possible. More »

January 13, 2014– 0

Happy New Year! What are your resolutions for 2014? Here’s one of ours: to make sure the rest of your academic year is the best and most successful that it can be. Why? Because you’re awesome and you deserve it! More »

January 6, 2014– 2

Connected devices are central to our long-term strategy of injecting sophisticated computation and knowledge into everything. With the Wolfram Language we now have a way to describe and compute about things in the world. Connected devices are what we need to measure and interface with those things. More »