A Unique Educational & Career Opportunity with Stephen Wolfram

A unique opportunity to do original research at the frontiers of science, the Wolfram Science Summer School helps about 40 students from a diverse range of scientific backgrounds learn about Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science (NKS) and apply it to their fields of interest. Most of these students are advanced undergraduates and early graduate students, but those in different circumstances are considered. We are looking for students who want to move their careers in the NKS direction. Read more »

Class of 2006

Joe Bolte

Bio [2006]

Joe was born and lived the first 18 years of his life in West Virgina, most notably in its highest incorporated town (pop. 600). Just before enrolling at St. John's College in Annapolis, he was able to travel around the United States for six weeks and is proud to say that he has been to 42 states and counting. After one year at St. John's, he transferred to the University of Chicago, where he worked in a neurophysiology lab and later a particle detection lab. He graduated with a major in Physics and a minor in Classical Studies, and soon after expatriated to South America. He spent three months in Chile, working on a computational investigation of the Jarzynski Equality, but he found the weather much more agreeable in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he spent another eight months. Joe was recently recalled to the land of the free and the home of the brave to start working for Wolfram Research after informing Dr. Wolfram of a terrible premonition he had in his sleep. He occasionally maintains his own website.

Project Title

Improved Visualization of Cellular Automata and Other Arrays

Project

Finding the clearest visualization of the output of even the simplest programs is a difficult matter. Even when the input's encoding and the output's decoding are trivial, and the function of the program is well understood, the computation's detailed operation may be obscured by aspects of the system used to visualize the process. By considering a series of examples of machines whose computation is well understood, I propose to study possible visualizations of systems whose input, output, and operation are all well understood, with two goals. The first is simply to create clearer representations of these systems, as learning tools for those who are not already familiar with them. The second, and more difficult, goal is to try to discover some general principle about the visual representation of simple programs' input, output, and operation that could lead to better tools for analyzing the behavior of systems that are still poorly understood.

I'll start with developing a clearer demonstration of the prime-generating CA displayed on page 640 of A New Kind of Science, as well as an analysis of the advantages of my refinement.

Project-related Demonstrations

Prime-Generating Cellular Automaton

Favorite Four-Color, Radius-1/2 Rule

Rule chosen: 214256865

Four-color, 1/2-range cellular automaton rule 214256865 with random initial conditions.