NKS: the first anniversary

Today (May 14, 2003) is the first anniversary of the release of A NEW KIND OF SCIENCE.

It's been an exciting first year for NKS.

A remarkable number of people from all sorts of areas have read the book--and more and more of them are enthusiastically studying it in great detail. Lots of people are beginning their own serious explorations of NKS ideas, with NKS Explorer or the programs from the book. And we're gradually starting to see a stream of research papers that build on NKS.

I've given nearly fifty heavily-attended lectures about NKS. Other people have started lecturing and teaching about NKS too. And there's been a lot of media coverage, a fair bit of it sensible.

Introducing a major new intellectual direction is never easy. And we've certainly seen some of the usual "it's wrong", "it's been done before", "it's not science" responses over the past year. But I would have been amazed if there'd been any serious challenges to the core ideas of NKS, and indeed there haven't. (There have actually been remarkably few bugs at all found in the book.)

I've always said that the story of NKS will be played out over a great many years. But it's been encouraging to see how quickly people who actually read the book seem to be able to absorb its ideas. And it's been wonderful to witness some of the "aha!" moments that happen when people suddenly understand points in NKS.

So what's next for NKS? It's a wide open field--with a lot of exciting science to be done, and applications to be developed. And this year--as well as working very hard on the next version of Mathematica and the next generation of tools for NKS--I've been thinking a lot about how to help make those things happen in the best possible way.

The first step is clearly education. The ideas and methods of the book need to be disseminated as thoroughly as possible. More books and expositions need to be written. More courses need to be taught. And for our part, we've been steadily moving forward on a variety of educational initiatives. The first NKS Summer School--which was heavily oversubscribed--will take place in July.

And coming in a little over a month will be a major event in the development of NKS: the NKS 2003 Conference & Minicourse, to be held in Boston on June 27-29. We'll be launching some important new initiatives at NKS 2003--both in the core science of NKS and its applications. And it'll be a truly stimulating and unique gathering of NKS pioneers.

As NKS ends its first year, I am more certain than ever of the exciting future that lies ahead. I hope that you can be involved--and that we'll see you next month at NKS 2003.

Stephen Wolfram