Stephen Wolfram Is Making Free Versions Of His Tech


Stephen Wolfram has long created software that has been very helpful to mathematicians and scientists, with software like Mathematica and the language that it uses, Wolfram Language, having become university favorites.

Wolfram even created the Wolfram Alpha, a question-answer technology that informs Siri of the answers to many questions asked by iPhone users.

Next step for Wolfram, however, is to bring his software philosophy to a wider range of people, including those just starting out in computing, such as students and children. Because of this, Wolfram has made a version of the Wolfram Language and the development tools available as a free, cloud-based service. To help those starting out using it, Wolfram has also published a book, called "An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language," which can be read online for free or ordered in a physical version from Amazon or from the Wolfram web site, where it costs $14.96.

"My big goal is make what can be done with computation as broadly accessible as possible," said Wolfram in an interview with the New York Times.

According to Wolfram, the goal is to help make his programming tools both powerful and accessible. One day, he says, he hopes "random kids can build things that only people with the fanciest tools could in the past."

This isn't totally unrealistic. Wolfram Language is one of the programming languages that is distributed with the Raspberry Pi, a tiny, affordable computer aimed at helping people build computer-based devices. The Raspberry Pi has sold a pretty hefty 7 million of its computers, according to Eben Upton, the chief executive of Raspberry Pi.

By widening the audience for the Wolfram technology, Wolfram Research will likely benefit in the long run, with more users wanting to subscribe to premium versions of its software. It's a similar move taken by major tech companies, with Apple opening its Swift programming language to open source, and Google doing the same with the TensorFlow machine-learning software. It will be interesting to see just how wide the Wolfram audience becomes.

Via: New York Times

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