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Raspberry Pi boosted with Wolfram mathematics

It all adds up
Fri Nov 22 2013, 10:32

THE POCKET SIZED Raspberry Pi computer has acquired more education resources with the addition of the Wolfram Language and Mathematica software.

A partnership between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the Wolfram Foundation means that free copies of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language will be included future Raspbian Linux images, explained Raspberry Pi Foundation chief Eben Upton in a blog post.

"We believe this will make the [Raspberry] Pi a first-class platform for teaching computer-based maths techniques to children of all ages," he said.

"Future Raspbian [Linux] images will ship with the Wolfram Language and Mathematica by default; existing users with at least 600MB of free space on their SD card can install them today."

Stephen Wolfram posted a comment on the news, and he said that the initiative is an early preview of his eponymous software package.

"In effect, this is a technology preview: it's an early, unfinished, glimpse of the Wolfram Language. Quite soon the Wolfram Language is going to start showing up in lots of places, notably on the web and in the cloud," he said.

"But I'm excited that the timing has worked out so that we're able to give the Raspberry Pi community - with its emphasis on education and invention - the very first chance to put the Wolfram Language into action."

Mathematica was released in 2008, said Wolfram, and he has been waiting for the Raspberry Pi to come along for years and described the coming together as the "beginning of something very important".

"It's tremendously satisfying - and educational. Writing a tiny program, perhaps not even a line long, and already having something really interesting happen. And then being able to scale up larger and larger. Making use of all the powerful programming paradigms that are built into the Wolfram Language," he added.

"And with Raspberry Pi there's something else too: immediately being able to interact with the outside world. Being able to take pure code, and connect it to sensors and devices that do things... I think it's pretty amazing that we're now at the point where all the knowledge and computation in the Wolfram Language can run in a $25 computer."

The Raspberry Pi already has educational chops, and earlier this year the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Google donated 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers to schools. "We hope that our new partnership with Google will be a significant moment in the development of computing education in the UK," said Upton then.

"We believe that this can turn around the year on year decline in the numbers and skill sets of students applying to read Computer Science at university." µ


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