SXSW 2013 Video Highlight: Stephen Wolfram Discusses the Computational Future

Written by Monica Sack | November 7, 2013

OK. There are smart people, and there are brilliant people. And then there’s Stephen Wolfram. Personally, I’m a liberal arts girl and science talk goes right over my head, but Mr. Wolfram’s resumé can’t help but impress, even at first glance.

At 20, he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics, followed by the creation of the first modern computer algebra system. The man actually created an entire computation language (the Wolfram Language) that's been used across many platforms. He built the Mathematica software, arguably the ultimate algorithm and meta algorithm computations application. And then there’s the book, A New Kind of Science, that’s become the basis of pretty much all computation. All this really leads to Wolfram Alpha. In Stephen Wolfram’s featured presentation from SXSW 2013, The Computational Future, he walks us through science, computations, running simple code experiments, all the way to trying to figuring out the fundamental theory of physics and the computations of our entire universe.

I have to be honest, I’d never heard of Wolfram Alpha, I had no idea what it did. I forwarded the link to a friend and asked her if she’d ever played around with it. She responded, “Oh, that's a great tool! I really love Wolfram Alpha and I'm always being told new ways to use it .” It got me curious enough to play around and she’s totally right! The thing is amazing! You can type in pretty much anything and the most interesting data gets presented in a way that is, well, mind-blowing.

Watch the video below! If you are as impressed as I was, then good news: Stephen Wolfram is confirmed to speak again at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival. I’m definitely planning on attending his session next March to hear about all the cool stuff currently in the works!