In this episode, Haley interviews Stephen Wolfram at the Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems. Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha and the Wolfram Language; the author of A New Kind of Science; and the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research. Wolfram talks with Haley about his professional journey and reflects on almost four decades of history, from his first introduction to the field of complexity science to the 30 year anniversary of Mathematica. He shares his hopes for the evolution of complexity science as a foundational field of study. He also gives advice for complexity researchers, recommending they focus on asking simple, foundational questions.
I’ve seen one or two much smaller projects along the lines of bash_kernel, but they’re either in incredibly rough shape or have very limited scopes or very niche uses. There’s a reasonably interesting list of open science related resources on GitHub, but it’s a tad old and some of the projects on it have merged or changed drastically since it was started. Foster has some interesting material and resources on open science if you care to dig through it. One day I’ll delve into the Open Science Framework to see if they’ve got anything I haven’t seen before too.
I keep meaning to document people who are using their own websites for pieces of this type of thing , but most are doing it in a hybrid fashion. Carl Boettiger is certainly a good example and may be aware of some additional resources including one he helps manage.
The scientific paper—the actual form of it—was one of the enabling inventions of modernity. Before it was developed in the 1600s, results were communicated privately in letters, ephemerally in lectures, or all at once in books. There was no public forum for incremental advances. By making room for reports of single experiments or minor technical advances, journals made the chaos of science accretive. Scientists from that point forward became like the social insects: They made their progress steadily, as a buzzing mass.
The earliest papers were in some ways more readable than papers are today. They were less specialized, more direct, shorter, and far less formal. Calculus had only just been invented. Entire data sets could fit in a table on a single page. What little “computation” contributed to the results was done by hand and could be verified in the same way.