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Wolfram Summer School

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

Our 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.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003

Directors

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.

Presentations

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003

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.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003

Alison Kimball

Program Coordinator

Alison Kimball has a bachelor's degree from Bates College where she majored in mathematics and religious studies. She's been at Wolfram for about a year now as the program coordinator in the Special Projects department. One of her favorite parts of her job is teaching Wolfram Language coding classes in the Boston area. In her spare time, Alison enjoys skiing and playing tennis.

YEARS:

 2016

Instructors

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.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014

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.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2014  |  2013  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009

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.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013

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.

Presentations

YEARS:

 2016  |  2014  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003

Dorian Birraux

Dorian Birraux received his master's degree in statistical physics in Paris in 2008. At Wolfram Research, he works on database-related projects and persistent storage solutions in the Advanced Research Group. He is interested in a bit of everything—technology and sciences, music, cinema and traveling. He also enjoys teaching.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015

Sebastian Bodenstein

Sebastian Bodenstein received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Cape Town for work on precision quark mass determinations and an analysis of the current discrepancy between experiment and theory of the muon magnetic anomaly. Currently, he is a developer for the Machine Learning Group at Wolfram Research, with a particular interest in neural networks.

His other interests include making music, playing soccer and cooking indian food.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015

Charlie Brummitt

Charlie Brummitt is an applied-math postdoc at Columbia University, where he is using mathematical modeling, machine learning and data science to study systemic risk, economic development and various kinds of complex systems. He attended the 2009 Summer School, after which his project (on boundaries of cellular automata) was expanded and published in collaboration with Eric Rowland. He has contributed to Wolfram|Alpha some content on nonlinear dynamics and cellular automata.

YEARS:

 2016

John Dixon

Academic Director

John Dixon received his PhD in the history of American civilization from Harvard University in 2014. His dissertation unveiled the rich human geography of the eighteenth-century Atlantic Ocean through digital mapping and analysis of ships' logbooks. He joined Wolfram Research in 2015 after a stint at HarvardX working on a MOOC emphasizing interdisciplinary inquiry through material culture. As assistant to Stephen Wolfram, he coordinates Wolfram's newest educational efforts in computational thinking, contributes expertise to the development of new and existing educational products and is involved with various special projects in education and the humanities. John also holds a BA in history and a BS in ceramic and materials engineering from Clemson University.

YEARS:

 2016  | 2017

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 Sprint24.com, 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.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014

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.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014

Giorgia Fortuna

Giorgia Fortuna completed her PhD in mathematics at MIT in May 2013. She worked on infinite-dimensional Lie algebras and, more generally, in geometric representation theory.

She attended the 2014 Wolfram Summer School and joined Wolfram Research afterward. She now works on the Machine Learning and Deep Learning team. She is implementing functions for unsupervised machine learning, focusing on estimating distributions, fitting data and generating models aiming to describe unlabeled datasets.

She is interested in statistics, probability and pure math.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015

Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson joined Wolfram Research as an intern after the Wolfram Science Summer School 2014 and was subsequently hired as a junior software engineer in the Software Engineering department. He has worked on integrating Arduino and other device functionality into the Wolfram Language, as well as expanding low-level hardware interfaces on the Raspberry Pi and related devices.

His project for the Summer School 2014 was interfacing an Arduino with Mathematica natively using the Device Framework.

He is currently studying at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, majoring in computer science and electrical engineering. Some of Ian's interests include designing and building electrical circuits, robotics, programming, solving problems, learning about math and physics, coaching his high-school debate team and fixing things.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015

Eric Rowland

Eric Rowland is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Hofstra University. He received his PhD from Rutgers University and held postdoctoral positions in the US, Canada and Belgium. He has coauthored over 30 research papers on topics in number theory, combinatorics and theoretical computer science, including several concerning cellular automata. In 2008 he proved that a simple recurrence discovered at the Summer School generates primes. He also develops mathematics content for Wolfram|Alpha.

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2012  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007

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.

Presentations

YEARS:

 2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003

Christopher Wolfram

Christopher Wolfram is a full-stack programmer and algorithm developer who has been programming in the Wolfram Language since a young age. He has been the lead developer for several built-in Wolfram Language functions (including Nearest and Encrypt), as well as for Tweet-a-Program and several of his own apps. He has presented at SXSW, Maker Faire, livecoding.tv and other venues on topics such as machine learning, data science and IoT programming. Christopher enjoys 3D modeling, Haskell, Swift, history, tennis and traveling. He has been a mentor in the Wolfram Summer Programs for five years.

YEARS:

 2016

Teaching Assistants

Robert Nachbar

Robert Nachbar is a project director in Wolfram Solutions, the consulting arm of Wolfram Research, where he both leads technical teams and develops custom applications for clients with Wolfram technologies. He joined Solutions in 2014 after retiring from the pharmaceutical industry, where he used Mathematica and other Wolfram technologies for drug design, data analysis and clinical research. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Brown University, and received the Wolfram Innovator Award in 2012. His research and computational interests include chemistry, biology, discrete mathematics, optimization, simulation and interactive visualization. He has been a frequent presenter at Wolfram Technology Conferences, most recently on genealogy.

YEARS:

 2016

Teja Vodlak

Teja Vodlak is a PhD student at Swansea University, United Kingdom, and a Marie Curie fellow on the Prototouch ITN project, with a background in applied mathematics.

Currently, her research interests focus mostly on computer modeling of human touch, namely the modeling of tactile content by employing multi-scale, multi-physics simulations in order to bridge the gap between mechanical stimulation and spike generation for the virtual prototyping and optimization of tactile displays.

She is an alum of the 2015 Wolfram Summer School.

YEARS:

 2016