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Monday, March 23, 2015

Computational Thinking With Wolfram Language

An excellent transcript (with pictures) of the talk and detailed demonstration given by Stephen Wolfram at the recent SXSW on their Wolfram Language.    We looked at Wolfram Alpha when it was released, but I have not looked at their generalized computation language for some time.   Looks impressive, deserves a look.  

" ... From an intellectual point of view, the goal of the Wolfram Language is basically to express as much as possible computationally—to provide a very broad way to encapsulate computation and knowledge, and to automate, as much as possible, what can be done with them. ... " .  

All that being said, as a practitioner and leader of computational competencies in the enterprise, who interviewed many students, I saw relatively few students trained in Wolfram methods.  What we saw were typically those trained in the languages of the big computer software companies, or were open source methods now being used in schools,  like R or Python.   Wolfram seems to make a good case that their methods are better, now how can they show that to schools?   Is it better enough to make the case?

Perhaps better for generalized problem solving courses, but such courses are not common, rather than programming or machine learning courses.  This may well be the fault of CS curricula today, companies like mine now do little low-level programming, but need to do lots of problem solving.

Check out the examples in the demonstration above, these are things that would be very difficult to do readily with general purpose programming, or R or Python.

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