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Wolfram Summer School

June 24–July 14, 2018
Bentley University, Waltham, MA

2014 Faculty

Executive Director

Stephen Wolfram

Stephen Wolfram is the author of A New Kind of Science and the principal lecturer at the Summer School. He is the creator of Mathematica, the creator of Wolfram|Alpha and the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research. Having started in science as a teenager (he got his PhD at age 20), Wolfram had a highly successful early career in academia. He began his work on NKS in 1981 and spent ten years writing the NKS book, published in 2002. Over the course of 30 years, Wolfram has mentored a large number of individuals who have achieved great success in academia, business and elsewhere. Starting the NKS Summer School (now called the Wolfram Science Summer School) was his first formal educational undertaking in sixteen years.


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Todd Rowland

Academic Director

Todd Rowland assisted Stephen Wolfram with mathematical issues found in A New Kind of Science chapters 5, 9 and 12. Before joining the NKS team in 2001, he wrote entries for MathWorld. Todd received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1999, where he studied traditional mathematics, such as algebraic and differential geometry. Currently, he is the managing editor of Complex Systems. His interests include the fundamental theory of physics, and more recently education, both NKS and the Wolfram Language.



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Catherine Boucher

Program Director

Catherine Boucher joined Wolfram Research in 1998. She led project management during the production of A New Kind of Science and is currently the director of special projects for Wolfram Research. Her team is responsible for early development of new initiatives at Wolfram Research, along with projects related to Wolfram Science. She and her team led the original development of Wolfram|Alpha and currently handle its mathematical content and parser development. Catherine received her PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in cluster analysis.


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Abigail Devereaux

Event Director

Abigail Devereaux joined Wolfram Research in 2007. She has a bachelor's degree in physics (2004) and a master's degree in mathematics (2007) from Boston University and is currently a Mercatus PhD Fellow in economics at George Mason University. She was involved in the Wolfram Science Summer School from 2008–2015 as event director, as a participant in 2008 and 2010, as a teaching assistant in 2011 and as an instructor from 2012–2015. Her presentation on cellular automata over graph topologies at the 2008 Midwest NKS Conference was later written into an article and published in Complex Systems. In her spare time she sings operatic soprano and writes speculative fiction.


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Giulio Alessandrini

Giulio Alessandrini graduated with a master's degree in physics at the University of Rome "La Sapienza." His studies comprised mainly statistical mechanics and its applications in different fields, such as neural networks, disordered systems and biological systems. His last project revolved around the statistical analysis of bacterium E. coli's central carbon metabolism.

He participated in the 2012 Summer School as a student and joined Wolfram Research afterward. He now contributes to the development of image processing functions for the Wolfram Language.

His interests span from natural sciences to Karate-Do, across Italian cantautori (singer-songwriters), science fiction and politics.


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Jan Baetens

Jan Baetens graduated as an environmental engineer from Ghent University in 2007, after which he joined that university's Research Unit Knowledge-Based Systems (KERMIT). Having struggled with traditional modeling approaches and their weaknesses while completing his master's thesis, he finds that cellular automata provide an alternate perspective for solving engineering problems. He attended the NKS Summer School 2008 to expand his knowledge of the topic and was an instructor for the NKS Summer School 2009 and 2010. In the framework of his ongoing PhD research, he addresses the usability of CA for describing biological spatio-temporal processes as well as the stability characteristics of CA. The research has led to several published papers and Wolfram Demonstrations. Currently, he is affiliated with Ghent University, at which he teaches several mathematics courses.


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Peter Barendse

Peter Barendse was born and grew up in the United States, attended the University of Vermont, and received his PhD in mathematics from Boston University in 2010.

The topic of his doctoral dissertation was combinatorial large cardinal hypotheses. He has published articles online and in the Journal of the Mathematical Society of Japan.

His scholarly interests are in mathematical logic, dynamical systems, theoretical computer science, physics, philosophy and economics. He is one of the first to study the theoretical capabilities of nonlocal cellular automata and model paradoxes with cellular automata. He now manages mathematical content for Wolfram|Alpha.

Besides these, he enjoys teaching, playing sports (especially water sports), debating, watching and making movies and traveling.


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Luca Belli

Luca received his PhD in math at University of Rome Tor Vergata, after graduating from Sapienza University of Rome with both a bachelor's and master's degree in mathematics.

After taking part in the 2012 Summer School as a student, he joined Wolfram as a math content developer. He again participated in the 2013 Summer School as an instructor.

Recently Luca was involved in the implementation of the back end of the Wolfram Problem Generator and in the analysis of its data.


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Etienne Bernard

Etienne Bernard is the lead developer of the Machine Learning Group at Wolfram Research, where he focuses on developing machine learning functionalities for the Wolfram Language. His work aims to simplify the practice of machine learning in order to spread its usage. Etienne obtained a PhD in physics from ENS Paris, where he designed Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms to solve physics problems. He also worked as a postdoctoral scholar at MIT on Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms and non-equilibrium statistical physics.


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Taliesin Beynon

Taliesin Beynon is a development lead in the advanced research group at Wolfram Research who works on deep learning functionality for the Wolfram Language. He studied honors math at the University of Cape Town.


 2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010 (TA)

Jason Cawley

Jason Cawley first discussed the ideas in A New Kind of Science with Stephen Wolfram in the early 1990s, and read early drafts of the work around that time. In the last few years before publication, Jason worked for Stephen Wolfram as a research assistant on historical and philosophical issues, including many topics covered in the notes. Jason's graduate studies were in political science at the University of Chicago, and his wide-ranging interests include philosophy, social science, economics, finance and the history of thought. After the book was published, Jason created and moderated the NKS Forum, answering reader questions about NKS. Jason then worked for Wolfram Research developing Mathematica's capabilities in the social sciences, including the development of CountryData and FinancialData. He worked on the Wolfram|Alpha project from its inception to its public release, including much of its social science content. For the last five years, Jason has been Director of Architecture at Wolfram Solutions, the consulting arm of Wolfram Research, bringing its technologies and methods to a wide range of corporate and government clients. He lives in Anthem, Arizona.



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Riccardo Di Virgilio

Riccardo Di Virgilio received a bachelor's degree in economics and financial science in November 2005 and another bachelor's in moral and social philosophy in December 2007.

From then on, he has worked as a web developer for, developing a Python web application to centralize business management. Every employee now uses a barcode system to update in real time the status of an order, and the application automatically dispatches notifications (via email, SMS or fax) and creates related documentation (e.g. invoices, delivery documents, etc.).

He succeeded in transforming a heavily paper-based production workflow into a dynamic, database-driven workflow, resulting in increased efficiency, reduced waste and a consistent decrease of labor and human errors.


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Bernat Espigulé Pons

Bernat Espigulé Pons is the author of a CDF-based website that guides its visitors around the forest of symmetric fractal trees. Equipped with Mathematica, Bernat has discovered and mapped the generalized families of self-contacting symmetric fractal trees. His main results were presented in two papers, at the Bridges Conference and the Symmetry Festival 2013. He also attended the Wolfram Science Summer School 2013, where he generalized the equations he had found for two-dimensional fractal trees into the 3D space. After this great experience, he decided to join Wolfram Research and work remotely from home in Barcelona.

In 2012, Bernat received a BSc in physics from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He completed the last two years of his studies abroad, first as an EAP student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, 2010–2011, and then as an ERASMUS student at Universität Heidelberg, Germany, 2011–2012. His strong interest in the study of complex systems started in high school, where he developed a research project about geometry and nature. From past to present, his interests are: fractal geometry, chaos theory, fractal spacetime, complex networks, nonlinear phenomena, morphogenesis, dynamical systems, topology, complex oscillations, fractal trees and NKS. Bernat's other interests are photography, hiking, surfing, couchsurfing, capoeira, architecture, generative art, education and, more recently, the art of 3D printing. He also enjoys receiving feedback from his left-handed twin brother who is doing research in physics, and his younger sister majoring in math.


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Vitaliy Kaurov

Vitaliy Kaurov received his PhD in theoretical physics from the City University of New York in the area of ultra-cold quantum gases, and also worked in the fields of complex systems and nonlinear dynamics. He collaborated in National Science Foundation-sponsored research and was a professor at the College of Staten Island. Currently, he is a member of the Technical Communications and Strategy Group at Wolfram Research, publishes on the Wolfram Demonstrations Project and writes for the Wolfram Blog. Vitaliy attended the Wolfram Science Summer School 2010 as a student, where he investigated the relation between 1D and 2D cellular automata. Since then, he has enjoyed returning to the Summer School and teaching new students.


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Hernan Moraldo

Hernan Moraldo is a developer in Wolfram|Alpha's Advanced R&D Group (ARG). Within Wolfram|Alpha, he worked on many projects related to parsing and data processing (also including some managing, briefly). Previously, he worked for a number of years in the computer games industry, and was a cofounder and member of the board of the Argentine Game Developers Association (ADVA in Spanish). He taught courses on computer game development and on artificial intelligence for games at Universidad Maimónides, Instituto Image Campus and Escuela Da Vinci.

Hernan is greatly passionate about technology and innovation; he's especially interested in different forms of automation (based on automatic data processing and analysis, language, vision, robotics, etc.). He lived most of his life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is now living in Bariloche, Argentina.


 2014  |  2012

David Reiss

David Reiss has been involved with Mathematica in one way or another since before it was born. As a graduate student at Caltech, another new grad student introduced him and others to Macsyma, which they used by connecting a 300-baud modem on a dial-up line via the ARPANET to a PDP-11 at MIT. With his thesis done in theoretical physics, he then went on an adventure-filled path through several postdocs, a government R&D laboratory, assorted other companies, some startups, working for that other grad student as his scientific communication director for A New Kind of Science and, these days, doing a variety of consulting work mainly using Mathematica. His approach to doing science is to plead ignorance about whatever problem is posed to him and then just dive in. Mathematica is his ideal tool for this. He lives in the Boston area and has a parrot with a very limited vocabulary and a college-age daughter with a vast vocabulary. His is somewhere in between.


 2014  |  2006

Matthew Szudzik

Matthew Szudzik made significant contributions to A New Kind of Science from 1998 through 2000 and during the summer of 2001 as a research assistant to Stephen Wolfram. His work focused primarily on the analysis of simple programs and on the theoretical foundations of computational mathematics. He holds a PhD in mathematical logic from Carnegie Mellon University. Matthew Szudzik has also worked as a special lecturer and as an assistant teaching professor of mathematics at Carnegie Mellon's campuses in Pennsylvania and Qatar.



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Hector Zenil

Hector Zenil joined Wolfram Research as an R&D fellow in 2006. He graduated with a BS in math from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and with a master's degree in logic (LoPhiSS) from the Sorbonne. He is a graduate student at Lille 1 and Paris 1 universities in computer science and philosophy of science, both on algorithmic complexity and randomness. He has been an intern at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University and is a senior research associate for the Wolfram|Alpha project.


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