What we’ve been doing with our summer vacation.

Things have been quiet here on Permutations, most likely because we’re all trying to get as many publications done over the summer as possible. I suspect I’m not the only one who giggles when undergrads ask me what I plan to do during summer “vacation”. Nevertheless, we are still keeping an eye out for things that might be of interest to the mathematically inclined, and I recently became acquainted with Wolfram Alpha, a program that attempts to do for statistics and data analysis what the hand calculator did for rote computation. You can see a demonstration of the whole thing here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Really interesting stuff, but I wonder if a natural language interface and hiding the coding issues will actually make it easier to get good answers, or just simpler to get subtly misleading ones.

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