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Dr Wolfram touts coding language to revolutionise mankind ... just like Wolfram Alpha did

'It becomes trivial to write a program'

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Number-crunching software biz Wolfram has bragged about its "most important technology project yet", aside from its Wolfram Alpha math search engine: a branded programming language.

The creators of the new "symbolic" language gushed it "covers all forms of computing, in a new way".

The Wolfram Language draws on the code which has been used in the company's Mathematica product for more than 25 years, as well as the Alpha search engine itself, we're told. Alpha is, by the way, used by Microsoft's Bing search engine and Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant Siri to look up information.

Apparently, Wolfram's new creation can plot graphs, process images, create user interfaces and, like a Swiss army knife, do a lot of other stuff. It also contains a "giant web" of algorithms, which designer and Wolfram boss Stephen Wolfram claimed is the largest collection of software routines ever assembled.

In a blog post, he said:

Over the years, I’ve put immense effort into the design of the language. Making sure that all the different pieces fit together as smoothly as possible. So that it becomes easy to integrate data analysis here with document generation there, with mathematical optimization somewhere else. I’m very proud of the results — and I know the language has been spectacularly productive over the course of a great many years for a great many people.

But now there’s even more. Because we’re also integrating right into the language all the knowledge and data and algorithms that are built into Wolfram|Alpha. So in a sense inside the Wolfram Language we have a whole computable model of the world. And it becomes trivial to write a program that makes use of the latest stock price, computes the next high tide, generates a street map, shows an image of a type of airplane, or a zillion other things.

We’re also getting the free-form natural language of Wolfram|Alpha. So when we want to specify a date, or a place, or a song, we can do it just using natural language. And we can even start to build up programs with nothing more than natural language.

Wolfram claimed his invention was a "new paradigm for computation" which would work across desktop, cloud, mobile, enterprise and embedded systems.

It will roll out a Wolfram programming cloud and also a data science platform, which will allow users to connect to various data sources and use the language to perform scientific analysis of the numbers.

The language will also be used to enhance Mathematica itself, as well as being brought to bear on any number of different tasks.

"There’s still much more," Wolfram promised. "The list is dauntingly long."

If all that sounds intimidating, Wolfram will be setting up a Programming Playground to help people in the basics of coding and setting up an API. ®

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