Posts from 2011

Imagining the Future with A New Kind of Science

Last weekend I decided to have a short break from all the exciting technological things we’re doing… and to give a talk at the Singularity Summit in New York City about the implications of A New Kind of Science for the future, technological and otherwise. Here’s the transcript:

Well, what I wanted to do here was to have some fun—and talk about the future.

That’s something that’s kind of recreational for me. Because what I normally do is work in the trenches just trying to actually build the future… kind of one brick at a time—or at least one big project at a time.

I’ve been doing this now for a bit more than 30 years, and I guess I’ve built a fairly tall tower. From which it’s possible to do and see some pretty interesting things. Continue reading

The Background and Vision of Mathematica

Opening keynote of the Wolfram Mathematica Virtual Conference 2011, September 26–27.

Hi. I’m pleased to be with you. I’ve been asked to talk a bit about the background and vision of Mathematica.

You know, this month it’s exactly 25 years since I started building Mathematica. It’s been really exciting seeing Mathematica grow and prosper over the years. But I have to say that in just the last few years, something truly remarkable seems to have been happening. It feels like Mathematica is really coming of age. It’s in just the right place at the right time. And it’s making possible some fundamentally new and profoundly powerful things. Like Wolfram|Alpha, and CDF, and yet other things that we’ll have coming over the next year.

But let me start off at the beginning. How did Mathematica come to be in the first place? Here’s the personal story. Continue reading

Steve Jobs: A Few Memories

I’m so sad this evening—as millions are—to hear of Steve Jobs’s death. Scattered over the last quarter century, I learned much from Steve Jobs, and was proud to consider him a friend. And indeed, he contributed in various ways to all three of my major life projects so far: Mathematica, A New Kind of Science and Wolfram|Alpha.

I first met Steve Jobs in 1987, when he was quietly building his first NeXT computer, and I was quietly building the first version of Mathematica. A mutual friend had made the introduction, and Steve Jobs wasted no time in saying that he was planning to make the definitive computer for higher education, and he wanted Mathematica to be part of it. I don’t now remember the details of our first meeting, but at the end of it, Steve gave me his business card, which tonight I found duly still sitting in my files:

Steve Jobs business card
Continue reading