Stephen Wolfram Q&A

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Some collected questions and answers by Stephen Wolfram

Questions may be edited for brevity; see links for full questions.

February 23, 2016

From: Reddit AMA

What’s the biggest technological advancement that has helped your company?

Obviously we wouldn’t exist but for universal computation and the possibility of software….

I have always taken the point of view that I want to design a language the way it should be, independent of what happens to be easy to implement on computers with a particular level of power. It’s helped tremendously over the last 30 years that computers have kept on getting more and more powerful, so things that were “theoretically good” become practically possible too.

There’ve been all kinds of thresholds. E.g. a decade ago it became possible for us to do nontrivial computation as part of an interactive interface, and that opened lots of possibilities.

The web has also been really helpful in making it possible to deliver Wolfram|Alpha and now the Wolfram Open Cloud to lots of people. And the internet/cloud is important in letting us get access to real-world data inside our language.

The concept of the cloud is also turning out to be more important than I expected, not least in the way that it lets us have definite symbolic representations for unique globally accessible objects in the world.

It’s more science than technology, but a lot of algorithm developments—as well as my own favorite methods of algorithm discovery in the computational universe—have also been very important.

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