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19th Annual Wolfram Summer School Online June 28–July 16, 2021

2015 Faculty

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 Summer School) was his first formal educational undertaking in sixteen years.


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.

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.


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.

Perri Bennett

Program Coordinator

Perri joined Wolfram Research in 2014. She has a bachelor's degree in communications from Suffolk University (2013). She assisted as program coordinator for the 2014 Wolfram Science Summer School and is excited to be back for her second year. Aside from her duties at Wolfram, she is an avid karaoke enthusiast and enjoys playing ice hockey.



Bernat Espigulé Pons


Bernat Espigulé Pons is the author of a Wolfram Notebook-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.

Carlo Barbieri


Carlo Barbieri holds a PhD in physics from ENS in Paris. His current research interests are on the boundary between physics, biology and informatics. During his thesis "Inverse problems in biophysics," he worked on developing algorithms to extract biologically relevant information from biophysics experiments such as DNA micromanipulation or neural activity recordings. He spent one year as a visiting PhD student at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He earned a master's in physics from the University of Rome "La Sapienza", in his hometown, focusing on Boolean satisfiability and the statistical physics of complex systems.

He now works for Wolfram in the Advanced Research Group, and has developed the automated data analysis functionality for Wolfram|Alpha. He now works on Wolfram Cloud features such as instant forms and APIs. He is a music lover, an avid traveler and a bike maniac. He finds it weird to talk about himself in the third person.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Vitaliy Kaurov


Vitaliy Kaurov joined the Technical Communications and Strategy Group at Wolfram Research in 2010. He has given numerous talks at universities, research labs, companies and conferences around the world, educating people on how Wolfram technologies empower academics and industries, governments and individuals. Vitaliy is involved with international business development, oversees Wolfram Community, writes for the Wolfram Blog, is a faculty member at the Wolfram Summer School and helps with many other Wolfram initiatives. Vitaliy 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, was a professor at the College of Staten Island and served as an organizer and chair at American Physical Society conferences. Wolfram technologies helped Vitaliy to discover novel scientific ideas and develop innovative educational solutions.

Teaching Assistants

Wolfram Summer School | Bentley University, MA | June 29–July 17, 2020