Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Les Grundman

Educational Innovation

Class of 2017


Les Grundman is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Indiana Tech, a small private college located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Just a few months prior to the 2017 Wolfram Summer School, he successfully defended his dissertation for his PhD in engineering education. In his dissertation research, he used Mathematica to create a cognitive device that combined haptic feedback with visualization support to help students learn about beam stress and deflection.

Although Les worked as a mechanical engineer at GE and Navistar for over twenty years, he has had a long-running interest in computers and programming. His first personal computer was an Atari 800, selected in part because the Atari’s 6502 microprocessor ran at 2 MHz instead of just 1 MHz. He wrote his own word processor for the Atari in the Forth language; while the Atari and Forth made for an interesting combination, it is truly amazing what is now possible with current computing hardware and the Wolfram Language.

Computational Essay

Resonance in a Mechanical System »

Project: mBot for Real-Time Data Processing

Goal of the project:

The goal of this project was to build a system that algorithmically created homework and quizzes, distributed the homework and quiz notebooks to students through the cloud, collected the finished notebooks from the students and then aggregated the results. The homework and quiz notebooks were to be completed by students using the free version of Wolfram Programming Lab.

Summary of work:

Code was developed that implemented roughly two-thirds of the featured diagram. Code was also created that could implement a dynamic rubric system when auto-grading was not possible. Many thanks to Ian Johnson, Kyle Keane and Paul Abbott for all their help and suggestions.

Results and future work:

This proof of principle project verified that it was possible, within limits, to implement this system. Limitations included not being able to include Manipulates and drawing tools in homework notebooks. Future work could investigate completing the remaining sections of the code and implementing this system on a desktop version of Mathematica to avoid the noted limitations. It is also worthwhile to note that the system would allow easy access to homework data for extensive analytics.