?> Summer School Faculty

Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

June 28–July 17, 2020

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Wolfram Summer SchoolFounded in 2003

18th Annual Wolfram Summer School June 28–July 17, 2020

In response to the global COVID-19 Pandemic, Wolfram Summer School will be launched as a fully digital experience this summer.

2017 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.

YEARS: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003


Lizzie Turner

Program Director

Lizzie joined Wolfram Research in 2014. She is currently the team manager and a technical project manager for Wolfram's Advanced Research Group, working from the company headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. This is her first year as program director of the Wolfram Summer Programs, and she participated last year as well. She is excited to share in this experience and make it valuable and memorable for everyone involved. In her spare time, she enjoys music and playing piano, traveling, shopping for unique trinkets, video games and learning about new technology. She has a BSc in applied mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

YEARS: 2017

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: 2017 | 2016

Vitaliy Kaurov

Academic Director

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.

YEARS: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Andrea Griffin

Program Coordinator

After attending the Wolfram Summer School in 2016, Andrea joined Wolfram Research as the Special Projects department's office administrator. She received a bachelor of arts in applied physics with minors in mathematics and secondary education from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2014 and a master of science in computer science from Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire, in 2016. Andrea has spent several years teaching students from young to old in a wide variety of subjects and in many settings. When she is not managing the office, Andrea spends her time at Wolfram utilizing her background to contribute to education-based efforts in the Special Projects department.

YEARS: 2017

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: 2017 | 2016

Swede White

Public Relations

Swede White manages public relations at Wolfram Research and is an alumnus of the Wolfram Summer School. Swede helps audiences understand the innovative things people can accomplish with Wolfram's technology through thought leadership programs, social media campaigns, and earned media placements in outlets like WIRED, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Business Insider, and others. Prior to joining Wolfram, Swede worked in broadcast journalism and attended graduate school at Louisiana State University studying sociology. Swede's research interests include applying sociological theory to practical communications projects using computational methodologies in Wolfram Language, including natural language processing and network analysis. Specifically, he examines the relationship between identity formation and online communities. ​He's also written for VICE, reported for the NPR Newscast Unit, and presented research at academic conferences ranging from computational social science to masculinities and criminology.  

YEARS: 2019 | 2018 | 2017


Paul Abbott

Paul Abbott is an adjunct professor at the University of Western Australia. He obtained his PhD in theoretical atomic physics from UWA in 1987, worked for Wolfram Research from 1989–1992 and has been a Wolfram consultant and instructor since 1997. Paul was the founding technical editor of The Mathematical Journal in 1990 and was a columnist until 2010. His interests range from computational physics, applied mathematics and special functions to courseware design. All of his research and teaching since 1985 has used Wolfram technologies in some way, and his work has been recognized most recently by a Wolfram Innovator Award in 2015 and an Australian University Teaching Award in 2016. In his spare time, Paul enjoys cycling, walking, swimming, photography, reading and writing.

YEARS: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017

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: 2019 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

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.

YEARS: 2018 | 2017 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

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.

YEARS: 2017 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

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: 2019 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

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: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

Mark Boyer

Mark Boyer worked as a full-time applications programmer at Wolfram from 2016–2017, but he is currently studying at the University of Washington as a graduate student.

YEARS: 2017

Kevin Daily

Kevin Daily is a team lead in Wolfram Technical Support. He helps customers learn how to use the Wolfram technology stack as a certified instructor and guides the skill development of other technical support engineers. He also assists as a sales engineer, such as onsite at the American Physical Society's March Meeting the last two years, and as a main Wolfram Language contact with JPL's Europa Clipper Pre-Project.

Prior to joining Wolfram, he earned a PhD in physics from Washington State University. He used Mathematica every day to prototype new ideas and better understand the equations of quantum mechanics. His main research background was in hyperspherical descriptions of few-body systems, including ultracold atoms and the quantum Hall effect (the latter as a postdoc at Purdue University).

He has gained teaching experience throughout his higher education. As an undergraduate, he was part of the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington, where he led physics tutorials in introductory physics. As a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher, he taught various physics courses, such as undergraduate labs, and guest-lectured on graduate atomic physics topics.

His interests include LEGO, board games and playing any kind of team sport.

YEARS: 2017

Vladimir Grankovsky

Vladimir Grankovsky has worked with broad topics including computer science, electronics design and neuroscience. He is interested in transhumanism, brain-like artificial intelligence and cosmology. He participated in the Wolfram Summer School in 2013 and has been using the Wolfram Language since his first year of university.

YEARS: 2018 | 2017

Gerli Jõgeva

Gerli Jõgeva joined Wolfram Research in 2014. She has a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Tartu, Estonia. During her studies, she did research in the bioinformatics group and was a TA in programming and discrete mathematics courses. Her current role at Wolfram is as a technical consultant, which allows her to work on various projects, including building infrastructure and dynamic content for Computer-Based MathTMmaterials. She is also a big fan of good coding standards, functional programming and graphs. Her hobbies and interests include choral music, orienteering, racket sports and reading fantasy novels.

YEARS: 2017

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: 2017 | 2016 | 2015

Kyle Keane

Kyle Keane is currently a full-time lecturer at MIT and part-time consultant at Wolfram in the Technical Communications and Strategy Group. Kyle was a research programmer in the Special Projects Department of Wolfram Research from 2012–2015, where he worked on establishing K–12 programming initiatives, including developing a general step-by-step physics and equation solver in Wolfram|Alpha and helping Siri speak Wolfram|Alpha results. His main areas of interest are the pedagogical effectiveness of interactive graphics, evidence-based infusion of programming into science education, improving the accessibility of technology for people with disabilities and user experience. Kyle has a PhD from the University of California, Riverside, where his dissertation was on utilizing weak quantum measurements to protect quantum systems from information loss during quantum computing.

YEARS: 2019 | 2018 | 2017

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: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016

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.

YEARS: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Jofre Espigulé Pons

Jofre Espigulé Pons has a background in physics. Prior to joining Wolfram, he did research on quantum physics and biophysics, in particular on the magnetoreception of birds and the limits of human vision. He was a student at the Wolfram Summer School 2015, where he used machine learning to identify species of birds based on their songs. He has a broad interest in topics ranging from computational linguistics to computational sports.

YEARS: 2019 | 2018 | 2017

Xavier Roy

Xavier Roy holds a PhD in theoretical cosmology. During his academic research, he developed several mathematical models, algorithms and numerical simulations to describe and study perturbations in cosmology and the evolution of the universe. He focused in particular on problems related to dark matter and dark energy.

He joined Wolfram Research in January 2015, where he has worked since as a consultant in the Algorithms R&D department.

YEARS: 2017

Matteo Salvarezza

Matteo Salvarezza joined Wolfram Research in 2016 after attending the Wolfram Summer School. Shortly before that, he earned a PhD in theoretical particle physics (performing research on electroweak physics beyond the Standard Model) at the University of Rome "La Sapienza," Italy. At Wolfram Research, he is part of the machine learning group and works on developing tools and applications for the Wolfram Language, with a particular focus on neural networks. His most important personal interest is, by far, music—he has been playing guitar, keenly listening and composing music for the last 14 years.

YEARS: 2018 | 2017

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.


YEARS: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

Timothée Verdier

Timothée Verdier graduated from the École Polytechnique and then obtained a PhD in biophysics at ENS Lyon, where he studied the physics of virus self-assembly and super-resolution imaging. Currently, he is a developer for the machine learning group at Wolfram Research, where he works on developing machine learning functionalities for the Wolfram Language, with a particular interest in neural networks and natural language processing. He is an outdoor and mountain-stuff lover who goes hiking, climbing or ski-touring whenever he has the opportunity...

YEARS: 2019 | 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: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Teaching Assistants

Valentina Biagini

Valentina Biagini is a data science consultant who provides support in the whole analytic process, from business understanding to data understanding, developing descriptive and predictive analytics projects. She enjoys tackling all kinds of problems and finds new challenges exciting. She obtained a master's degree in theoretical physics at the University of Rome "La Sapienza," in her hometown. For her thesis, "Inference of Local Topology of Wikipedia from Visits Time Series," she used inference methods based on stationarity approximations, programmed in the Wolfram Language. During her studies, she developed a great interest in statistical mechanics, stochastic processes, graph theory, networks and complex systems. She studied and worked on developing algorithms on graphs to extract meaningful information from real systems. In July 2013, she attended the Wolfram Summer School as a student. Since then, Mathematica has been her tool of choice. She loves traveling, analog photography and wandering in foreign cities.

YEARS: 2017

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.


YEARS: 2017 | 2016 | 2014 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

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: 2017 | 2016

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: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016