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About Stephen Wolfram
Wolfram was born in London and educated at Eton, Oxford and Caltech, earning his PhD in physics in 1979 at the age of 20. After a brief but distinguished academic career, he founded Wolfram Research in 1987 and as CEO has built it into one of the world's most respected and innovative software companies, whose products are relied on by millions of people around the world.
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Wolfram discusses the history of computation from its earliest beginnings to current applications and the emergence of computable knowledge. Notable figures include: Pythagoras, Archimedes, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Gottfried Leibniz, Carl Linnaeus, John von Neumann, and many others.
John von Neumann
From science consulting for a Hollywood movie, solving problems of AI ethics, hunting for the source of an unusual polyhedron, communicating with extraterrestrials, to finding the fundamental theory of physics and exploring the digits of pi, Adventures of a Computational Explorer captures the infectious energy and curiosity of one of the great pioneers of the computational world.
Stephen Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha and the author of A New Kind of Science and An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language. In this short ebook, Dr. Wolfram dives into his theories of computation and the universe.
Take a look at this short excerpt from the ebook Computation and the Future of the Human Condition:
“In traditional engineering, one starts with some purpose in mind, then explicitly tries to construct a system that achieves that purpose.
And typically at each step one insists on foreseeing what the system will do.
With the result that the system must always be quite computationally reducible.
But in the computational universe there are lots of systems that aren’t computationally reducible.
So can we use these systems for technology?
The answer is absolutely yes.
Sometimes we look at the systems and realize that there’s some purpose for which they can be used.
But more often, we first identify a purpose, and then start searching the computational universe for systems that can achieve that purpose.
Things like this have been done a little in traditional engineering—even, say, with
Edison searching for his light-bulb filaments.
But it’s vastly more efficient and streamlined in the computational universe.
In a world where jobs are continually being outsourced to machines and algorithms, the question of how best to educate the next generation becomes more important with every year. Stephen Wolfram, author of A New Kind of Science and Idea Makers and creator of Wolfram|Alpha, says the answer is computational thinking. Wolfram defines computational thinking as "formulating things with enough clarity that one can tell a computer how to do them." Computational thinking provides the most direct link possible between idea and implementation, without the repetitiveness and minutia of basic programming languages. Wolfram walks the reader through the basics of the Wolfram Language, encouraging young minds to embrace these concepts, while allowing them to creatively explore beautiful visualizations and actual working code. The Wolfram Language is free for anyone with a web browser to experiment with and use.