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 was his first formal educational undertaking in sixteen years.
Todd Rowland—Academic Director
Todd Rowland assisted Stephen Wolfram with mathematical issues found in A New Kind of Science Chapters 5, 9, and 12. Before joining the NKS team in 2001, he wrote entries for MathWorld. Todd received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1999, where he studied traditional mathematics such as algebraic and differential geometry. Currently, he is the managing editor of Complex Systems. His interests include automated theorem proving, the fundamental theory, and NKS education.
Catherine Boucher—Program Director
Catherine Boucher joined Wolfram Research in 1998. She led project management during the production of A New Kind of Science and is currently the special projects director for Wolfram Research. Catherine received her PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in cluster analysis.
Jan Baetens graduated as an environmental engineer from Ghent University in 2007, after which he joined that school's research unit Knowledge-Based Systems (KERMIT). Having struggled with traditional modeling approaches and their weaknesses while completing his master's thesis, he finds that cellular automata provide an alternate perspective for solving engineering problems. He attended the NKS Summer School 2008 to expand his knowledge of the topic, and is an instructor for the NKS Summer School 2009. He is currently working on a PhD on the usability of cellular automata in environmental engineering at Ghent University, and teaches several mathematics courses.
Tommaso Bolognesi has a laurea in physics from Università degli studi di Pavia and an MS in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked at the Italian National Research Council (CNR) since 1977 on computer music and design of concurrent systems. He has published a number of papers, participated in several national and European projects, helped run international conferences and workshops, and contributed to the definition of the ISO-standard LOTOS language. As a 2005 NKS Summer School student he researched process algebra and Petri nets. Most of his efforts are now on NKS-related topics, in particular on discrete models of space and spacetime based on graph rewriting (A New Kind of Science, Chapter 9).
Jason Cawley has been talking to Stephen Wolfram about the ideas in A New Kind of Science and reading early drafts of the work for over 15 years. In the last few years before publication, Jason worked for Wolfram Research 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, and the history of thought. The developer of the NKS Forum, he has been its most active Wolfram Research participant, answering user questions about NKS. He also works on applications of NKS ideas in the social sciences, arts, and humanities.
- Historical Ideas of Formal Uncertainty and NKS Irreducibility
- NKS in the Social Sciences
- Philosophical Implications
Paul-Jean Letourneau attended the 2004 NKS Summer School, where he completed a pure NKS project on elementary cellular automata with memory. He has been an instructor at the Summer School since 2005. His 2004 project developed into his master's thesis in theoretical physics, "Statistical Mechanics of Cellular Automata with Memory." He has worked in several industrial and academic laboratories around North America, where he made original contributions to real-world problems in medical imaging, geophysical seismic imaging, protein structure prediction, and DNA-protein interactions. Paul-Jean is now a software engineer at Wolfram Research.
Eric Rowland was a student at the NKS Summer School 2003 and has since continued NKS-informed research. His paper "Local Nested Structure in Rule 30" is part of a larger research program to understand various types of nestedness in cellular automata and related systems. To this end he has also studied number theoretic properties of additive cellular automata. More recently, he proved that a simple recurrence discovered at the Summer School generates only ones and primes. In the summer of 2006 he worked as an R&D Fellow at Wolfram Research. He has just completed his PhD in mathematics at Rutgers University and in the fall of 2009 is beginning a postdoctoral fellowship at Tulane University.
Michael Schreiber received his PhD from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) for his dissertation on support systems for university development. He has consulted for various organizations and taught marketing at WU. Throughout his career he has made many and various contributions to art events and systems conferences in Europe. For the last several years he has engaged in NKS research using Mathematica. He has authored more than 350 Demonstrations.
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 is currently a doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, working toward a PhD in mathematical logic.
- The Analysis of an S-K Combinator Expression
- A Survey of "Other" Rule Systems
- Turing Machines
- The Enumeration of Computational Systems
- Emulation and Irreducibility
- The Analysis of a Turing Machine
- Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics
Jamie Williams is a senior researcher working on the Wolfram|Alpha project. He received a PhD in theoretical low-temperature atomic physics from the University of Colorado in 1999. Before joining the Wolfram team, Jamie was a scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, investigating nonequilibrium dynamics and quantum computing in ultracold atomic systems. He first encountered the ideas in NKS in 2002 while researching a project on entanglement dynamics in quantum cellular automata. He is interested in the deployment of NKS- based approaches for solving real-world problems in physics.
Hector Zenil joined Wolfram Research as an R&D fellow in 2006. He graduated with a BS in math from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and with a master's degree in logic (LoPhiSS) from the Sorbonne. He is a graduate student at Lille 1 and Paris 1 universities in computer science and philosophy of science, respectively, both on algorithmic complexity and randomness. He has been an intern at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University and is a senior research associate for the Wolfram|Alpha project.
Abigail Nussey joined Wolfram Research as a special projects coordinator in 2007. She has a bachelor's degree in physics (2004) and a master's degree in math (2007) from Boston University. She has participated in the NKS Summer School since 2008, and presented on cellular automata over graph topologies at the 2008 Midwest NKS Conference. She writes the NKS Blog, and runs a magazine and BBS community geared toward polymaths.