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 (now called the Wolfram Science 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 director of special projects for Wolfram Research. Her team is responsible for early development of new initiatives at Wolfram Research, along with projects related to Wolfram Science. She and her team led the original development of Wolfram|Alpha and currently handle its mathematical content and parser development. Catherine received her PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in cluster analysis.
Abigail Nussey—Event Director
Abigail Nussey joined Wolfram Research in 2007. She has a bachelor's degree in physics (2004) and a master's degree in math (2007) from Boston University. She has been involved in the Wolfram Science Summer School for five years: five years as event director, two years as a participant, one year as teaching assistant, and one year as an instructor. She presented on cellular automata over graph topologies at the 2008 Midwest NKS Conference, which was later written into an article and published in Complex Systems. She paints, sings classical soprano, and writes speculative fiction.
Jan Baetens graduated as an environmental engineer from Ghent University in 2007, after which he joined that university'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 was an instructor for the NKS Summer School 2009, 2010, and 2011. In the framework of his ongoing PhD research, he addresses the usability of CA for describing biological spatio-temporal processes as well as the stability characteristics of CA. The research has led to several published papers and Wolfram Demonstrations. Currently, he is affiliated with Ghent University, at which he teaches several mathematics courses.
Carlo Barbieri holds a PhD in physics from ENS in Paris. His current research interests are on the boundary between physics, biology, and informatics. During his thesis "Inverse problems in biophysics," he worked on developing algorithms to extract biologically relevant information from biophysics experiments such as DNA micromanipulation or neural activity recordings. He spent one year as a visiting PhD student at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He earned a master's in physics from the University of Rome "La Sapienza", in his home town, focusing on Boolean satisfiability and the statistical physics of complex systems.
He now works for Wolfram in the ARG group (also known as the Talk-Like-A-Pirate group) on the data input features in Wolfram|Alpha. He has written a blog post on his experience at the Summer School last year.
He is a music lover, an avid traveler, and a bike maniac. He finds it weird to talk about himself in the third person.
Peter Barendse was born and grew up in the United States, attended the University of Vermont, and received his PhD in mathematics from Boston University in 2010.
The topic of his doctoral dissertation was combinatorial large cardinal hypotheses. He has published articles online and in the Journal of the Mathematical Society of Japan.
His scholarly interests are in mathematical logic, dynamical systems, theoretical computer science, physics, philosophy, and economics. He is one of the first to study the theoretical capabilities of nonlocal cellular automata and model paradoxes with cellular automata.
Besides these, he enjoys teaching, playing sports (especially water sports), debating, watching and making movies, and traveling.
Luca Belli started his mathematical studies in Rome, where he got his bachelor's and master's degrees at "La Sapienza" university. Currently he is finishing his PhD in mathematics at "Tor Vergata" university.
During his studies he visited the University of Heidelberg (Germany) and IMPA in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Though his studies manly concerned pure and continuous mathematics, in the last couple of years, he's grown an interest in more practical and applied mathematics.
Etienne Bernard holds a PhD in physics from ENS in Paris. In his thesis "Algorithms and Applications of the Monte Carlo Method: Two-Dimensional Melting and Perfect Sampling," he designed Markov-chain Monte Carlo algorithms in order to solve condensed matter problems. He then worked as a postdoctoral scholar at MIT on problems related to Monte Carlo algorithms as well as on non-equilibrium statistical physics. He is interested in topics related to statistics and computer science such as machine learning.
He now works for Wolfram in the Applied Research Group on designing and implementing natural language processing and machine learning algorithms.
Taliesin Beynon is a research programmer in the advanced research group at Wolfram|Alpha. His research interests include machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, and Dataviz. His previous NKS work has focused on graph automata and two-dimensional Turing machines.
Vitaliy Kaurov received his PhD in theoretical physics from The City University of New York. He was an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island, where he taught math and physics and did research in the physics of ultra-cold quantum gases. Participation in the Wolfram Demonstrations Project rekindled the old interest in NKS that he had carried since his undergraduate studies in Ukraine. He attended the NKS Summer School 2010, where he investigated the relation between 1D and 2D cellular automata. He joined the Technical Communication and Strategy Group at Wolfram Research in 2010.
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 holds a PhD in mathematical logic from Carnegie Mellon University and is an assistant teaching professor of mathematics at their campus in Doha, Qatar.
- 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
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, 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.