Wolfram Alpha’s creator also hosts a summer camp

In the first day At Camp Wolfram, I call Stephen Wolfram “Steve.”

“It’s actually Stephen,” said the world’s most controversial physicist in a clear yet quiet British accent. In another lifetime, the creator of Wolfram Alpha would have become an excellent BBC Radio News broadcaster. “Nobody under 50 calls me Steve,” he added.

“Sorry,” I said in the chuckles of 42 campmates. They included a boy from Baltimore, who had memorized hundreds of digits of pi; a person from Colombia who speaks five languages ​​including Python and Russian; the small talk boy from Mumbai, who implemented college-level algorithms in C ++ for entertainment; and the girl from Toronto who made it to the list of national players and was also fascinated by the science of computation – in her Forever 21 Coachella shirt she could explain a woman in New State At what age is York most likely to die. We will spend two weeks on the Bentley University campus in Waltham, MA to learn Wolfram Language programming skills.

I am 17 years old. Generation Z-ers like me are even more tech than millennials. While they were flirting in ninth grade on AOL Messenger, we were playing Brick Breaker on Mommy’s Blackberry while commuting to kindergarten. We know technology the way we know the lyrics Music high school, or the plot of Harry Potter. We never sit down and learn it – we just absorb it.

Katie Orenstein.Courtesy of Wolfram Research

As we grow up with our devices, it’s almost imperative to – instinctively – to get creative with them. Have Lots of worries right now on Gen Z device usage time. But see what we’re doing? I’m delighted to see my age group setting a creative storm. Among my colleagues, coding is one of the more modern languages ​​- along with photography, filmmaking and visual arts. You shouldn’t think my hobby of coding in any way has made me great. My other love is the stage, and I’ve always been the loudest person in the science and technology space (maybe in the minority a redhead, and maybe a girl too), or one of the dumbest people in the comedy / child world. I have the straightforward and alert personality of the theater kid, and the analytical mindset of the STEM kid. I want the data to support my hypothesis that “We don’t belong together” from Sunday in the park with George contains word melodies Go to the forest.

I’ve been to coding camp before, But Camp Wolfram is unique. The camp is run by Wolfram Research, known for its main product as Wolfram Language, as well as the mother of all Wolfram Alpha homework result / rescue tools. Wolfram’s company is Silicon Valley’s ideal, but it has tried to turn down many of the Gulf’s scams. First, although the camp takes place in Massachusetts, the company is headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, instead of San Francisco, and it has offices in Boston and world cities like Tokyo and Lima. Some of the new hires graduate from college, while others “get a Stephen degree” and never have a bachelor’s degree – but still others, by Valley standards, are old fashioned (even pretty!) Before 1986, the year the company was founded. The company survived two dot-com booms, and a version of its flagship software still works on the Apple II for which it was written. And Silicon’s El Dorado corporate culture – merit – kinda-sorta seems real in WolframLand, because of the way the company and the community are separate from the rest of the rat race by experience and geography.

Mathematica software works on Apple II since the 1970s.Katie Orenstein

You’d think that with everything named after him, Wolfram would have a bit of a cult of personality. In retrospect, his life seemed very similar to his own West wingPresident Bartlett, was funny and a little odd wearing a coat. His staff have great respect for him and his ability to make long and discernible decisions, but they will be admirably affected when he makes impulsive decisions in the short term. . For example, he decided 48 hours in advance that he wanted to lead a quiz game with our campers, forcing his employees to find time to hack a buzzer app together. I was written on Wolfram Cloud.

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