Mathematica is a general software system for mathematical and other applications. It is used by researchers, engineers, analysts and students from high school to grad school.

Development

Developed by Wolfram Research, headed by Stephen Wolfram. Wolfram was born in London in 1959 and educated at Oxford. He got his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Caltech in 1979. He spent two years on the faculty at Caltech and then four more at The Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. He then moved to the University of Illinois to become director of the Center for Complex Systems Research and Professor in several departments including physics, computer science and mathematics.

His early research was mostly in high energy phsyics and quantum field theory, but in 1980 and 1981, he lead the development of the SMP computer algebra system, which was a forerunner for many of the elements found in Mathematica. The first version of Mathematica was released on June 23, 1988 and has since become an established tool in science, engineering and business.

Wolfram continues to do scientific research on various topics including cellular automata computer models, chaos theory and parallel computing. He has contributed greatly to computational fluid dynamics and continues to be a pioneer in the field of complex systems research.

Applications

Mathematica can be used simply as a numerical or symbolic calculator or a graphing system for visualizing functions or data. However, the real power of Mathematica comes from a high-level programming language which allows you to build computer models or data analysis environments. It even has animated interfaces for creating stand-alone interfaces or embedded applications.

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