Stephen Wolfram

Born in London in 1959, Wolfram was educated at Eton, Oxford, and Caltech. He published his first scientific paper at the age of 15 and received his PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech by the age of 20. Wolfram's early scientific work was mainly in high-energy physics, quantum field theory, and cosmology, and included several now-classic results. Having started to use computers in 1973, Wolfram rapidly became a leader in the emerging field of scientific computing; and in 1979 he began the construction of SMP — the first modern computer algebra system — which he released commercially in 1981. Since then, he has been at the forefront of technical and scientific computing.

Following his scientific work on complex systems research, in 1986 Wolfram founded the first research center and the first journal in the field, Complex Systems. Then, after a highly successful career in academia — first at Caltech, then at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and finally as Professor of Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science at the University of Illinois — Wolfram launched Wolfram Research, Inc.

Wolfram began the development of Mathematica in late 1986. The first version of Mathematica was released on June 23, 1988, and was immediately hailed as a major advance in computing. In the years that followed, the popularity of Mathematica grew rapidly, and Wolfram Research became established as a world leader in the software industry, widely recognized for excellence in both technology and business. Currently at Version 9, Mathematica has become the standard software language and environment for scientific, technical, and algorithmic computation, and algorithmic software development.

After more than ten years of highly concentrated work, Wolfram finally described his achievements in his 1200-page book A New Kind of Science. Released on May 14, 2002, the book was widely acclaimed and immediately became a bestseller. Its publication has been seen as initiating a paradigm shift of historic importance in science, with new implications emerging every year.

Building on Mathematica and the ideas of A New Kind of Science, Wolfram embarked on his most ambitious project to date: building a system that would make as much of the world's knowledge as possible computable and accessible to everyone. The release of Wolfram|Alpha in May 2009 was widely viewed as a historic step forward, that has defined a new dimension for computation, and is now an important tool used by millions of people every day.

Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Language. He is the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research, as well as the author of A New Kind of Science. Wolfram recently published An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language, aimed at kids and people who haven't programmed before.


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