6.24.2008

Two decades of Mathematica

Yesterday, June 23, 2008, was the 20th anniversary of the launch of Mathematica.

My first experience with Mathematica came in 1990, when I was editor of Miller Freeman's AI Expert magazine. I loved the software — it was incredible. It was very useful for developing and modeling AI techniques such as genetic algorithms and neutral networks, as well as general problem solving.

In mid-1991, we were approached by Addison-Wesley to see if we wanted to purchase The Mathematica Journal. I was asked if I was familiar with the technology ... and responded enthusiastically. After the deal was done, I served as Editor and later Associate Publisher of the Journal.

Not only did we have a great team on the Journal (here’s a big shout-out for Troels Petersen, Peter Altenberg, Michele Anet, Roman Maeder and Bob Korsan), but I had the extreme pleasure of working closely with Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, and other talented scientists. (Today, the Journal is published by Wolfram Research.)

Sadly, I haven't used Mathematica for more than a decade. It's not as much a lack of interest as a lack of time. My projects these days rarely require numerical and symbolic computation.

(Trivia: I was the first kid on the block to have an Apple Mac Quadra 700, using the then-phenomenal 25MHz 68040 processor, which we bought in late 1991 to run Mathematica for the Journal. It’s astounding how much work we could get done on a platform that has less computing power than a modern smartphone.)

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Co-founder and editorial director of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. Founder of SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference, AnDevCon: The Android Developer Conference, and Big Data TechCon. Also president and principal analyst of Camden Associates, an IT consulting and analyst firm.