Wolfram Mathematica (usually termed Mathematica) is a modern technical computing system spanning most areas of technical computing — including neural networks, machine learning, image processing, geometry, data science, visualizations, and others. The system is used in many technical, scientific, engineering, mathematical, and computing fields. It was conceived by Stephen Wolfram and is developed by Wolfram Research of Champaign, Illinois. The Wolfram Language is the programming language used in Mathematica.
Mathematica 8.0.0 Linux frontend
|Initial release||June 23, 1988|
|Stable release||12.1.1 (June 17, 2020)|
|Written in||Wolfram Language, C/C++, Java|
|Platform||Windows (7, 8, 10), macOS, Linux, Raspbian, online service. All platforms support 64-bit implementations. (list)|
|Available in||English, Chinese, Japanese|
|Type||Computer algebra, numerical computations, information visualization, statistics, user interface creation|
The Notebook interfaceEdit
Wolfram Mathematica is split into two parts, the kernel and the front end. The kernel interprets expressions (Wolfram Language code) and returns result expressions, which can then be displayed by the front end.
The front end, designed by Theodore Gray in 1988, provides a graphical user interface (GUI), which allows the creation and editing of Notebook documents containing program code with Syntax highlighting, formatted text together with results including typeset mathematics, graphics, GUI components, tables, and sounds. All content and formatting can be generated algorithmically or edited interactively. Standard word processing capabilities are supported, including real-time multi-lingual spell-checking.
Documents can be structured using a hierarchy of cells, which allow for outlining and sectioning of a document and support automatic numbering index creation. Documents can be presented in a slideshow environment for presentations. Notebooks and their contents are represented as Mathematica expressions that can be created, modified or analyzed by Mathematica programs or converted to other formats.
Presenter tools support the creation of slide-show style presentations that support interactive elements and code execution during the presentation.
Among the alternative front ends is the Wolfram Workbench, an Eclipse based integrated development environment (IDE), introduced in 2006. It provides project-based code development tools for Mathematica, including revision management, debugging, profiling, and testing. There is a plugin for IntelliJ IDEA based IDEs to work with Wolfram Language code which in addition to syntax highlighting can analyse and auto-complete local variables and defined functions. The Mathematica Kernel also includes a command line front end. Other interfaces include JMath, based on GNU readline and WolframScript which runs self-contained Mathematica programs (with arguments) from the UNIX command line.
Capabilities for high-performance computing were extended with the introduction of packed arrays in version 4 (1999) and sparse matrices (version 5, 2003), and by adopting the GNU Multi-Precision Library to evaluate high-precision arithmetic.
Version 5.2 (2005) added automatic multi-threading when computations are performed on multi-core computers. This release included CPU-specific optimized libraries. In addition Mathematica is supported by third party specialist acceleration hardware such as ClearSpeed.
In 2002, gridMathematica was introduced to allow user level parallel programming on heterogeneous clusters and multiprocessor systems and in 2008 parallel computing technology was included in all Mathematica licenses including support for grid technology such as Windows HPC Server 2008, Microsoft Compute Cluster Server and Sun Grid.
Support for CUDA and OpenCL GPU hardware was added in 2010. Also, since version 8 it can generate C code, which is automatically compiled by a system C compiler, such as GCC or Microsoft Visual Studio.
Features of Wolfram Mathematica include:
- Libraries of mathematical elementary functions and special functions including Number theory function and combinatoric functions
- Support for complex number, arbitrary precision arithmetic, interval arithmetic, numbers with uncertainty censored data, temporal data, time series, and unit based data, and symbolic computation
- Matrix and data manipulation tools including support for sparse arrays and associative arrays
- 2D and 3D data, function and geo visualization and animation tools
- Solvers for systems of equations, diophantine equations, ordinary differential equations (ODEs), non-linear partial differential equations (PDEs), differential algebraic equations (DAEs), delay differential equations (DDEs), stochastic differential equations (SDEs), and recurrence relations
- Finite element analysis including 2D and 3D adaptive mesh generation
- Numeric and symbolic tools for discrete and continuous calculus including continuous and discrete integral transforms
- Constrained and unconstrained local and global optimization
- Multivariate statistics libraries including fitting, hypothesis testing, and probability and expectation calculations on over 160 distributions.
- Calculations and simulations on random processes and queues
- Supervised and unsupervised machine learning tools for data, images and sounds including artificial neural networks
- Tools for text mining including regular expressions, semantic analysis, sentiment analysis and fact extraction
- Data mining tools such as cluster analysis, sequence alignment and pattern matching
- Computational geometry in 2D, 3D and higher dimensions and Euclid-style 2D geometry
- Libraries for signal processing including wavelet analysis on sounds, images and data
- Audio processing filters and measures including audio recognition
- Tools for 2D and 3D image processing and morphological image processing including image recognition
- Tools for visualizing and analysing directed and undirected graphs
- Tools for cryptography including symmetric and asymmetric keys, hashing and elliptic curve cryptography
- Tools for financial calculations including bonds, annuities, derivatives, options etc.
- Group theory and symbolic tensor functions
- Tools for Automated theorem proving
- Linear and non-linear control system libraries
- Microcontroller kit for giving symbolic specifications from which it automatically generates and deploys code to run autonomously in microcontrollers.
- Tools for computational chemistry including bond length and angle calculations and databases of chemical properties
- Programming language supporting procedural, functional, object-oriented constructs and parallel programming
- Toolkit for adding user interfaces to calculations and applications
- Tools for creating and deploying cloud based computational applications and services
- Tools to connect to dynamic-link library (DLL), Java, .NET, C++, Fortran, CUDA, OpenCL, and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) based systems
- Using both "free-form linguistic input" (a natural language user interface) and Wolfram Language in notebook when connected to the Internet
There are several ways to deploy applications written in Wolfram Mathematica:
- Mathematica Player Pro is a runtime version of Mathematica that will run any Mathematica application but does not allow editing or creation of the code.
- A free-of-charge version, Wolfram CDF Player, is provided for running Mathematica programs that have been saved in the Computable Document Format (CDF). It can also view standard Mathematica files, but not run them. It includes plugins for common web browsers on Windows and Macintosh.
- webMathematica allows a web browser to act as a front end to a remote Mathematica server. It is designed to allow a user-written application to be remotely accessed via a browser on any platform. It may not be used to give full access to Mathematica. Due to bandwidth limitations interactive 3D graphics is not fully supported within a web browser.
- Wolfram Language code can be converted to C code or to an automatically generated DLL.
- Wolfram Language code can be run on a Wolfram cloud service as a web-app or as an API either on Wolfram-hosted servers or in a private installation of the Wolfram Enterprise Private Cloud.
Connections to other applications, programming languages, and servicesEdit
Communication with other applications occurs through a protocol called Wolfram Symbolic Transfer Protocol (WSTP). It allows communication between the Wolfram Mathematica kernel and front-end, and also provides a general interface between the kernel and other applications. Wolfram Research freely distributes a developer kit for linking applications written in the programming language C to the Mathematica kernel through WSTP. Using J/Link., a Java program can ask Mathematica to perform computations; likewise, a Mathematica program can load Java classes, manipulate Java objects, and perform method calls. Similar functionality is achieved with .NET /Link, but with .NET programs instead of Java programs. Other languages that connect to Mathematica include Haskell, AppleScript, Racket, Visual Basic, Python, and Clojure.
Links are available to many third party software packages including OpenOffice.org Calc, Microsoft Excel, MATLAB, R, SageMath (which can also pull up Mathematica), Singular, Wolfram SystemModeler, and Origin. It also links to the Unity game engine and the OpenAI Gym. Mathematical equations can be exchanged with other computational or typesetting software via MathML.
Mathematica includes interfaces to SQL databases (via Java Database Connectivity JDBC), MongoDB, and it can access RDF graph databases via SPARQL. Mathematica can also install web services from a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) description. It can access HDFS data via Hadoop..
Mathematica can call a variety of cloud services to retrieve or send data including ArXiv, Bing, ChemSpider, CrossRef, Dropbox, Facebook, Federal Reserve, Fitbit, Flickr, Google (Analytics, Calendar, Contacts, Custom search, Plus, search, translate), Instagram, LinkedIn, MailChimp, Microsoft Translator, Mixpanel, OpenLibrary, OpenPHACTS, PubChem, PubMed, Reddit, RunKeeper, SeatGeek, SurveyMonkey, Twilio, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Yelp.
Mathematica can capture real-time data via a link to LabVIEW, from financial data feeds, and directly from hardware devices via GPIB (IEEE 488), USB, and serial interfaces. It automatically detects and reads from devices following the HID USB protocol. It can read directly from a range of Vernier sensors that are Go!Link-compatible.
Wolfram Mathematica includes collections of curated data provided for use in computations. Mathematica is also integrated with Wolfram Alpha, an online computational knowledge answer engine which provides additional data, some of which is kept updated in real time. Some of the data sets include astronomical, chemical, geopolitical, language, biomedical and weather data, in addition to mathematical data (such as knots and polyhedra).
BYTE in 1989 listed Mathematica as among the "Distinction" winners of the BYTE Awards, stating that it "is another breakthrough Macintosh application ... it could enable you to absorb the algebra and calculus that seemed impossible to comprehend from a textbook".
Learning and Adopting MathematicaEdit
Compare to the early years, a vast amount of resources are now available to learn the application. Wolfram Cloud provides anyone a free account and access to the latest version of Mathematica and provides a place and tutorial to start learning independent of platforms.
The Documentation are now available online, in the Wolfram Cloud and in the application itself, filled with easy copy and paste examples. Not only are the functions and its multitude of options explained, but workflows and guidelines are also provided.
An Elementary Introduction to Wolfram Language provides a quick tutorial on the basics. While Fast Introduction for Math Students and Fast Introduction for Programmers goes into details for respective users.
Finally but not least, Wolfram U also provide free and paid tutorials on using the application in more depth.
Wolfram Mathematica built on the ideas in Cole and Wolfram's earlier Symbolic Manipulation Program (SMP). The name of the program "Mathematica" was suggested to Stephen Wolfram by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs although Wolfram had thought about it earlier and rejected it.
- 1.0 – June 23, 1988
- 1.1 – October 31, 1988
- 1.2 – August 1, 1989
- 2.0 – January 15, 1991
- 2.1 – June 15, 1992
- 2.2 – June 1, 1993
- 3.0 – September 3, 1996
- 4.0 – May 19, 1999
- 4.1 – November 2, 2000
- 4.2 – November 1, 2002
- 5.0 – June 12, 2003
- 5.1 – October 25, 2004
- 5.2 – June 20, 2005
- 6.0 – May 1, 2007
- 7.0 – November 18, 2008
- 8.0 – November 15, 2010
- 9.0 – November 28, 2012
- 10.0 – July 9, 2014
- 10.1 – March 30, 2015
- 10.2 – July 14, 2015
- 10.3 – October 15, 2015
- 10.4 – March 2, 2016
- 11.0.0 – August 8, 2016
- 11.0.1 – September 28, 2016
- 11.1 – March 16, 2017
- 11.1.1 – April 25, 2017
- 11.2 – September 14, 2017
- 11.3 – March 8, 2018
- 12.0 – April 16, 2019
- 12.1 - March 18, 2020
- 12.1.1 – June 17, 2020
- Comparison of multi-paradigm programming languages
- Comparison of numerical analysis software
- Comparison of programming languages
- Comparison of regular expression engines
- Computational X
- Dynamic programming language
- Fourth-generation programming language
- Functional programming
- List of computer algebra systems
- List of computer simulation software
- List of graphing software
- Literate programming
- Mathematical markup language
- Mathematical software
- Wolfram Alpha, a web answer engine
- Wolfram Language
- Wolfram SystemModeler, a physical modeling and simulation tool which integrates with Mathematica
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- Mathematica plugin for IntelliJ IDEA
- Using a Text-Based Interface documentation at wolfram.com
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- Math software packs new power; new programs automate such tedious processes as solving nonlinear differential equations and converting units by Agnes Shanley, Chemical Engineering, March 1, 2002.
- Mathematica 5.1: additional features make software well-suited for operations research professionals by ManMohan S. Sodhi, OR/MS Today, December 1, 2004.
- The 21st annual Editors' Choice Awards, Macworld, February 1, 2006.
- "Mathematica is tuned to take advantage of CPU features when available". Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- "ClearSpeed Advance Accelerator Boards Certified by Wolfram Research; Math Coprocessors Enable Mathematica Users to Quadruple Performance". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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- "CUDA and OpenCL support added in Mathematica 8". Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- "Create LLVM code". Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- "Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Review: Mathematica 7. Technical computing powerhouse gets more oomph Macworld, Jan 2009
- "The Free-Form Linguistics Revolution in Mathematica". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Free-Form Linguistic Input". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Mathematica Player Pro - new Application Delivery System for Mathematica www.gizmag.com
- "Computable Document Format (CDF) for Interactive Content". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Wolfram Symbolic Transfer Protocol (WSTP)
- Mathematica 4.2 Archived 2007-11-21 at the Wayback Machine by Charles Seiter, Macworld, November 1, 2002.
- .NET/Link: .NET/Link is a toolkit that integrates Mathematica and the Microsoft .NET Framework.
- "mathlink: Write Mathematica packages in Haskell - Hackage". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- S.Kratky. "MathLink for AppleScript". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "MrMathematica: Calling Mathematica from Scheme". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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- "PYML (Python Mathematica interface) - from Wolfram Library Archive". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Clojuratica - Home". Clojuratica.weebly.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- CalcLink Lauschke Consulting
- "Mathematica Link for Excel: Bringing the Power of Mathematica to Excel". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- R. Menon, Sz. Horvát. "MATLink". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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- RLink Mathematica Documentation
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- Mathematica Link to Labview BetterView Consulting
- DDFLink Lauschke Consulting
- GITM SourceForge. Note that the GITM project currently (as of 2014-08-03) has no downloadable artefacts and appears to be inactive so GPIB support for Mathematica may not actually exist.
- BTopTools A commercial interface to USB devices
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- Vernier and Mathematica
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- Mathematica 4.0 by Charles Seiters, Macworld, October 1, 1999.
- Mathematica 5.0 Adds Up: Exactly 15 years after Mathematica's initial release, Wolfram Research has released Mathematica, PC Magazine, September 3, 2003.
- Mathematica 5.1's Web Services Add Up; Mathematica 5.1 delivers improvements over Version 5.0 that are vastly out of proportion for a .1 upgrade. by Peter Coffee, eWeek, December 6, 2004.
- Mathematica hits 64-bit, MacWorld UK, July 13, 2005.
- Today, Mathematica is reinvented – Blog by Stephen Wolfram
- Mathematica 6: Felix Grant finds that version 6 of Wolfram Research's symbolic mathematical software really does live up to its expectations. Scientific Computing, 2007.
- Mathematica 7.0 Released Today! – Blog by Stephen Wolfram
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- "Stephen Wolfram blog: Mathematica 9 Is Released Today!". Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Stephen Wolfram blog: Launching Mathematica 10–with 700+ New Functions and a Crazy Amount of R&D". Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- "Wolfram Research News » Mathematica 10.1 is Now Available!". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Mathematica Latest Version and Quick Revision History". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Stephen Wolfram blog: Today We Launch Version 11!". Retrieved 8 August 2016.
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- "Stephen Wolfram blog: It's Another Impressive Release! Launching Version 11.2 Today". Retrieved 14 September 2017.
- "Stephen Wolfram blog: Roaring into 2018 with Another Big Release: Launching Version 11.3 of the Wolfram Language & Mathematica". Retrieved 8 March 2018.
- "Stephen Wolfram blog: Version 12 Launches Today! (And It's a Big Jump for Wolfram Language and Mathematica)". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- "Stephen Wolfram In Less Than a Year, So Much New: Launching Version 12.1 of Wolfram Language & Mathematica". Retrieved 18 March 2020.
- "Mathematica Latest Version and Quick Revision History". Retrieved 17 June 2020.
- Official website
- Mathematica Documentation Center
- Wolfram Open Cloud limited free access to Mathematica via a browser
- Image identification website powered by Mathematica
- Wolfram Demonstrations Project Mathematica based demonstrations
- A little bit of Mathematica history documenting the growth of code base and number of functions over time
- Wolfram Screencast & Video Gallery: Hands-on Start to Mathematica