Wolfram Language

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Wolfram Language
Wolfram Language Logo 2016.svg
Paradigm Multi-paradigm: term-rewriting, functional, procedural, array
Designed by Stephen Wolfram
Developer Wolfram Research
First appeared 1988
Typing discipline Dynamic, strong
OS Cross-platform
License Proprietary (available at no-cost for some platforms)[1]
Filename extensions .nb, .m, .wl
Website www.wolfram.com/language & WolframLanguage.org
Major implementations
Mathematica, Wolfram Development Platform, Mathics, Expreduce, MockMMA
Influenced by

The Wolfram Language is a general multi-paradigm programming language[5] developed by Wolfram Research and is the programming language of the mathematical symbolic computation program Mathematica[6] and the Wolfram Programming Cloud. It emphasizes symbolic computation, functional programming, and rule-based programming[7] and can employ arbitrary structures and data.[7]

It includes built-in functions for generating and running Turing machines, creating graphics and audio, analyzing 3D models, matrix manipulations, and solving differential equations. It is extensively documented.[8]

The Wolfram language was released for the Raspberry Pi in 2013 with the goal of making it free for all Raspberry Pi users.[9] It was included in the recommended software bundle that the Raspberry Pi Foundation provides for beginners, which caused some controversy due to the Wolfram language's proprietary nature.[10][11] Plans to port the Wolfram language to the Intel Edison were announced after the board's introduction at CES 2014.[12] There was also a short lived proposal to make Wolfram libraries compatible with the Unity game engine, giving game developers access to the language's high level functions.[13][14]


The language was officially named in June 2013 although, as the programming language of Mathematica, it has been in use in various forms for over 30 years since Mathematica's initial release.[6][15] Before 2013, it was internally referred to by several names, such as "M" and "Wolfram Language." Other possible names Wolfram Research considered include "Lingua" and "Express."[7]

In popular culture[edit]

Both Stephen Wolfram and his son Christopher Wolfram were involved in helping create the alien language for the film Arrival, for which they used the Wolfram Language.[16] They were given portions of the written language, and used Wolfram Language to analyze the images and attempt to interpret them. This served as the model for how the characters approached the problem in the film.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Wolfram Aims to Democratize His Software by Steve Lohr, The New York Times, December 14, 2015
  2. ^ Maeder, Roman E. (1994). The Mathematica® Programmer. Academic Press, Inc. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-48321-415-3. 
  3. ^ "Wolfram Language Q&A". Wolfram Research. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  4. ^ Bezanson, Jeff; Karpinski, Stefan; Shah, Viral; Edelman, Alan (2012-02-14). "Why We Created Julia". Julia Language. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Notes for Programming Language Experts about Wolfram Language". Wolfram.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  6. ^ a b "Celebrating Mathematica's First Quarter Century—Wolfram Blog". Blog.wolfram.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  7. ^ a b c "What Should We Call the Language of Mathematica?—Stephen Wolfram Blog". Blog.stephenwolfram.com. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  8. ^ "Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center". Reference.wolfram.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  9. ^ "Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) on Every Raspberry Pi—Wolfram Blog". Blog.wolfram.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  10. ^ Sherr, Ian (2013-11-22). "Premium Mathematica software free on budget Raspberry Pi - CNET". News.cnet.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  11. ^ Thomas, Gavin (2014). "Eben Upton comments on open source Pi concerns". Gadget Daily. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 
  12. ^ Daniel AJ Sokolov (2014-11-22). "Intels Edison: Pentium-System im Format einer SD-Karte | heise online". Heise.de. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  13. ^ "The Wolfram Language will soon be integrated into Unity". Gamasutra. 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  14. ^ "Is there a way to use Wolfram Language in Unity3D?". Wolfram. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 
  15. ^ "Stephen Wolfram Says He Has An Algorithm For Everything — Literally". Readwrite.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  16. ^ How Arrival's Designers Crafted a Mesmerizing Language, Margaret Rhodes, Wired, November 16, 2016.

External links[edit]