A New Kind of Science: Third Anniversary

Date: May 14, 2005

From: Stephen Wolfram

Subject: NKS: Three Years Later

Today it is three years since I published my book A New Kind of Science. It seems like a lot longer than that--so much has happened in the intervening time. What started as a book is steadily emerging as a major intellectual movement with its own structure and community.

The first year after the book came out was dominated by a certain amount of "paradigm shift turbulence." But by the second year, many serious projects were starting, and indicators like the publication rate of NKS-based papers began to climb.

Now, in the third year, a recurring theme has been the emergence of a growing group of exceptional individuals who are planning to base their careers on NKS. There are scores of NKS-based Ph.D. theses underway, and all sorts of NKS-based corporate ventures--as well as our own growing NKS R&D operation in Boston.

Later this year, the first full-length independent book based on NKS will be published, and the first independent NKS conference will be held. In late June, we will be holding our third annual NKS Summer School--for which there were a record number of exceptional applicants. We are planning to have our next major NKS conference in spring 2006; we'll be announcing the details shortly. There will also be an NKS mini-course at our Wolfram Technology Conference this October.

This year I myself have mostly been in a tool-building phase, working on major new Mathematica technology that, among other things, will be very important for NKS research--and which I can't wait to use.

There's a lot more in the pipeline too. We're developing plans for a new kind of publishing medium for NKS (partly based on the Complex Systems journal that I've been publishing since 1986). We're also planning later this year to start regular "live experiments," in which I'll be leading public web-conferenced explorations into the computational universe.

Also in the next few months we're planning to release a rather unexpected consumer-oriented application of NKS, which I expect we'll all be hearing quite a bit about.

As we begin the fourth year of NKS, I feel more optimistic than ever before about its promise--and its significance in science, technology, the arts, and beyond. It will be fascinating to see where the most important NKS-based breakthroughs come from, and what they will be.

I hope you'll have the opportunity to take part in the excitement of the upcoming years of early NKS growth.

Stephen Wolfram