Written by Mike James   
Saturday, 20 September 2014

Wolfram has invented a very nice publicity stunt. All you have to do is create a program in no more than 140 characters and tweet it to see it run.

What is fun about this particular stunt is that you will be surprised at how much can be done in 140 characters using Wolfram Language - but there is more to say about this. If you create a Wolfram Language tweet and send it to @WolframTaP the Wolfram Cloud will run it for you and tweet back the result.

If you take a look at some of the example tweets in the Wolfram blog you will quickly come to the conclusion that you really can do a lot in 140 characters.

For example what about the ultimate "Hello World":




Or some impressive mathematical 3D graphics:




And finally what about the famous CA 30 which is as everyone knows is universal:



There are lots more to see on the blog post. 

Some thoughts on the whole idea. The first is that this is an impressive form of compression 140 characters or less that create images of amazing complexity. As to CA 30 as Wolfram says:

"An ultimate question is whether somewhere out there in the computational universe there is a program that represents our whole physical universe. And is that program short enough to be tweetable.."

Of course what all of this is missing is the total size of the program. Take any clever complex program and turn it into a function and you can do what ever that program does in the number of characters it takes to call the function and provide it with arguments. The whole idea of converting code into functions is about information compression and hence understanding. Which would you rather type in a complete quicksort program or a call to qsort(A)?

The fact that you can write such powerful programing in 140 characters in Wolfram Language doesn't prove that the language is powerful just that it has a lot of built-in and extension functions. With the right set of standard modules you could do the same things in Python in about the same number of characters. Of course Wolfram Language is more powerful than Python but this is because it has symbolic manipuation built in and its range of built in functions is greater. It isn't more powerful because it represents some sort of language break-though. 

A good publicity stunt and if you know Mathematica worth trying. 

What ever you do don't follow the account unless you want to be flooded with lots of programs being debugged.



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Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 September 2014 )