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.

November 4, 2019

From: Interview by Margaret Harris, Physics World

How is computing different from programming?

The key to computational language is to find a way to express whatever one wants to talk about in a form that a computer can understand. Programming languages are about starting from the underlying operations in a computer and working out how to tell the computer which operations to perform. A programming language has concepts like arrays or pointers. Our computational language, in contrast, has concepts like differential equations, or galaxies, or chemical elements, or countries. A lot of what’s normally considered “programming” is completely automated when you’re using our computational language. You’re essentially operating at a much higher level, and we’re taking care of all the details of doing what you want to as efficiently as possible. The people who are doing “computational x” are really interested in computational thinking, not in programming as such.

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