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Mathematica
Computational software program
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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^{[10]} in 1988, provides a graphical user interface (GUI), which allows the creation and editing of Notebook documents^{[11]} 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.^{[12]}
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.^{[13]}
The Mathematica Kernel also includes a command line front end.^{[14]} Other interfaces include JMath,^{[15]} based on GNU readline and WolframScript^{[16]} which runs self-contained Mathematica programs (with arguments) from the UNIX command line.
Version 5.2 (2005) added automatic multi-threading when computations are performed on multi-core computers.^{[19]} This release included CPU-specific optimized libraries.^{[20]} In addition Mathematica is supported by third party specialist acceleration hardware such as ClearSpeed.^{[21]}
Support for CUDA and OpenCLGPU hardware was added in 2010.^{[23]} 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.
In 2019 support was added for compiling Wolfram Language code to LLVM.^{[24]}
Using both "free-form linguistic input" (a natural language user interface)^{[27]}^{[28]} and Wolfram Language in notebook when connected to the Internet
Deployment
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.^{[29]}
A free-of-charge version, Wolfram CDF Player, is provided for running Mathematica programs that have been saved in the Computable Document Format (CDF).^{[30]} 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 services
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.^{[31]} 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.,^{[32]} 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,^{[33]} but with .NET programs instead of Java programs. Other languages that connect to Mathematica include Haskell,^{[34]}AppleScript,^{[35]}Racket,^{[36]}Visual Basic,^{[37]}Python,^{[38]}^{[39]} and Clojure.^{[40]}
Mathematica supports the generation and execution of Modelica models for Systems modeling and connects with Wolfram System Modeler.
Mathematica can capture real-time data via a link to LabVIEW,^{[58]} from financial data feeds,^{[59]} and directly from hardware devices via GPIB (IEEE 488),^{[60]}USB,^{[61]} and serial interfaces.^{[62]} 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.^{[63]}
Mathematica can read and write to public blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and ARK).^{[64]}
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).^{[66]}
Reception
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".^{[67]}
Learning and Adopting Mathematica
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.
Version history
Mathematica version history
Wolfram Mathematica built on the ideas in Cole and Wolfram's earlier Symbolic Manipulation Program (SMP).^{[68]}^{[69]} 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.^{[70]}
Wolfram Research has released the following versions of Mathematica:^{[71]}
^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.