I was very excited at our CBM summit this morning with Eben Upton to announce that Mathematica will be bundled on the Raspberry Pi computer for free, and so will the new Wolfram Language--also announced today.
This really has at least 4-dimensions of consequence:
Firstly, it's a unique way to excite students about maths by marrying it up with coding. Coders will be able to use the power of Mathematica's maths out of the box, not only enriching what they can do but also showing off the power and importance of maths. Attaching maths to something already enjoyable to make it better and more enjoyable I think will be very encouraging in learning more maths. And you never know, politicians and policy-makers might even start to see the connection between coding, maths and fun--rather as I outlined in an earlier blogpost
Secondly, it's cheap. For $25 + some bits and pieces, you can be up and running. One reason I was excited to be able to announce this today is because we've been hosted UNICEF's building for our summit and I think we'll have a great solution for maths, coding and CBM in developing countries.
Thirdly, this is the first pass of the Wolfram language. For years it's been lurking under the umbrella of Mathematica, a key aspect not only of our technology stack but the framework, even our symbolic way of thinking about structuring ideas. And because Wolfram Language is multi-paradigm it's a great early language to learn because it avoids students getting into thinking of everything as best expressed in one structure or other. This all complements Raspberry Pi and its goals very well and so it's nice that our first manifestation of Wolfram Language is there. Others will follow.
Fourthly, it's simply amazing that Mathematica and Wolfram language can run on something as small and cheap as Raspberry Pi. Yes, by modern desktop PC standards it can be a little clunky, but functionally it's all there--all the thousands of functions (even including my show-off special function HypergeometricPFQRegularized[ ]!). One further consequence: because Raspberry Pi is small and cheap enough to act as an embedded computer, we for the first time we have a quick-to-deploy yet full-power embedded solution.
Really looking forward to seeing what the world's students (and their tinkering parents!) come up with with this new super-combo and how it can help to drive CBM forward.
P.S. This rather completes our fruity announcements for the moment--from Apple to Blackberry to Raspberry Pi (though not as my daughter keeps calling it the Apple Pi).