May 14, 2007

My First Export to SWF, From Mathematica

A little while ago, I briefly posted about Mathematica 6 exporting to SWF. Well, I've had a little time to play with it, and must confess that I'm finding it difficult to focus on finishing a project, because there is always something interesting in the documentation to distract me.

I've set myself the task of exploring the export to SWF feature, and here's an early example. AT this point, all I've done is make some small modifications to provided examples.

My impressions, so far:

Some Good stuff:
1. A lot of power in a few lines of code! This example was created in about 4 lines.
2. Wonderfully simple programming interface--I've always loved that about Mathematica.
3. Amazingly easy to go from evaluating a function to producing an interactive animation of it (even if the swf export doesn't have the interaction part).
4. Nice range of color palettes to choose from, and easy to apply. (I need to research how to add custom palettes).

Some Problems:
1. The resulting swf is huge! 3.27mb!
2. There is no interactivity in the swf - it runs automatically, even though there is a slider visible. (within Mathematica there is a lot of interaction with the example).
3. The swf does not support the 3d rotation of rendered object, which is present in the Mathematica interface.
4. The swf appears to be frame-by-frame animation of stills, rather than making use of any of the Flash drawing api.

Because the file is so big, I've posted it to the extended entry, instead of the main body, of this post. I've also posted a screenshot of the Mathematica notebook file, used to create this swf.

Continue reading "My First Export to SWF, From Mathematica" »

May 10, 2007

Examples of what Mathematica can do

Thanks to Kristin I took some time out to download the Wolfram Mathematica Player (Beta) so I could check out some examples of the new Mathematica 6 that are on their demonstrations page. Here are some of my favorites (altho I admit I've not had the time yet to check out all demonstrations, there are so many!):

Strange Attractor of Gumowski-Mira: What's not to love about strange attractors? This one is so much fun to play with and click around! Addictive!
Cellular Automaton Fonts: Anybody who knows me knows I love cellular automata. This demonstration shows what happens when you let some cellular automata rules loose on the alphabet. Really sweet stuff!
Borromean Mesh: 4 sets of interlocking rings that are no longer interlocking when any set is removed. Try to figure out which rings form a set before clicking.
Eight Queens Puzzle: I remember getting taught about backtracking back in uni using the eight queens puzzle as the starting point. Brings back memories :)
Pendulum with Three Magnets: Seen this a dozen times back when Flash experiments were at an all-time high. Still intriguing!
Moire Patterns: Such a simple concept and still fascinating to watch and play with.

Download the player (it's rather large at 80MB tho but worth it!) and browse around and I garantuee you hours of fun! And let us know what your favorites are, we want to know!

May 02, 2007

Mathematica 6 exports to Flash!

Holy Cow! The new release of Mathematica (6) exports to swf!

Guess what I'm going to be playing with as soon as the disk arrives.

June 24, 2004

International Mathematica Symposium 2004

International Mathematica Symposium - Banff, Alberta, Canada ... Aug. 1-6, 2004

So close but yet so far! I didn't get the Wolfram email until after their June 15 early registration deadline, but I can't afford the registration fee either way!

Student $300, now $500 (CAD)
Regular $500, now $800
Tutorials $200, now $300 each

If anyone needs representation at the symposium and wants to SAVE THE AIRFARE TO CALGARY, I just happen to be in the neighborhood, and I'm a student ... call me! :)

February 18, 2004

Two Weeks 'Till Flash Forward

Are you going to this year's Flash Forward conference? I'll be talking about visualizing science with flash, at 4pm on Thursday (room 223). My Q&A session is 9am, the next day.

There's so much to talk about. It was very hard to keep it to a one hour presentation. I'll focus on projects that use XML in some form, with either a custom data structure or an established XML application. If there's time, I'll also touch on webMathematica and mathML. It'll be fun, really! :-)

December 06, 2003

new math server is live

The new server, with the upgrades for both Mathematica and webMathematica, is now live: GalaxyGoo webMathematica Lab

We're now running a Mathematica 5.0 kernel and webMathematica 2.0.

December 02, 2003

Switch to new Math server

So far, things look good for the upgrade installation on the new math server, and we're moving ahead.

Some good news: existing applications, written for webMathematica 1.0 are working fine on the upgrade. Things were not as dire as we thought.

The server switch is scheduled for Friday evening. We expect about 5 mins of downtime during the router change, but that is all.

November 29, 2003

webMathematica upgrade going well

The installation of our webMathematica (and Mathematica) upgrade, on the new box is going very well. There was a problem with performance speed, but seems to be all cleared up. We should be switching over very soon.

My cold is fading, at long last. As soon as I'm fully healthy, I'm getting a flu shot. If this is what the season's cold will do, I don't want to find out how bad the flu can get.

October 21, 2003

Current Status of upgrade to webMathematica 2.0

Here's the current standing of our upgrade to webMathematica 2.0:

We have two major problems to overcome:

1. Version 2.0 is not completely backward-compatible with version 1.0. As soon as the new version is installed, all current webMathematica applications on the server may cease to function.

2. The installation is tricky, and doesn't indicate there is a problem until the end of the installation process. The first attempt to upgrade failed, and we reverted to the original installation.

What we're going to do:

1. Rent a temporary server to install Version 2.0

2. Get it up and running, and modify our applications to function on the new architecture

3. Swap servers.

This approach will minimize downtime, and give us room to breath and learn the new version of webMathematica while we make the transition.

Update: Things may not be so bad, when it comes to backward compatibility. We'll find out how many changes we'll need to make to ur applications once the installation is done. Keeping my fingers crossed.

June 25, 2003

Mathematica 5 Announced

According to Wolfram Research, makers of Mathematica,

"One of the most significant releases to date, Mathematica 5
offers dramatic speed increases for numerical calculations while
extending symbolic capabilities, providing enhanced optimization
and connectivity, and adding a host of other innovative
features. These improvements take Mathematica to a new level of
capability, with unparalleled speed, scope, and scalability.

I, for one, am looking forward to it's arrival...some time in the next few weeks. At that time, we'll upgrade both the Mathematica kernel and the webMathematica servlets on our server.

May 14, 2003

Flash-Enabled Mathematica

Flash-Enabled Mathematica

It seems that Dr. Song has been busy beating us to the punch! However, his application must be used on a machine that has direct access to the Mathematica kernel. If you are so blessed please enjoy the application ... if not, download the zip anyway to gain access to the contents.

I have an expired Mathematica 4.0 app, so I edited start.bat to point to it, which allowed DOS functionality but no kernel output ... very frustrating, but informative! The .swfs can also be manipulated to expose their functionality, again with no kernel output, however.

Perhaps we can apply some of his methods to our work with webMathematica, Flash and MathML. His Flash-created, Mathematica-like input pallets are very similar to my set of 20 input pallets ... my unfinished matrix/table pallet algorithm is stalling it's completion, but I'll get a presentation together soon to post in the Flash blog, with or without the last algorithm.

April 04, 2003

webMathematica 1.0 MathML Update

No doubt webMathematica 2.0 beta includes this patch, but for now you can download the package from:

webMathematica 1.0 MathMLPatch

This package includes .msp examples for integrating various math reader apps to display MathML content in your browser, as well as a webMathematica documentation notebook viewable with Mathematica or their MathReader. I'm sure that this could be adapted for display within a Flash app as well. I'll ask Kristin to update our webMathematica 1.0 so we can attempt embedding a reader ... I'm using MathPlayer from Design Science.

Upon further reading, I've found that Design Science's 'webEQ Developers' Suite' may be necessary for full implementation of a MathML renderer/editor component, since it includes Input Control to format input. Their 'MathPlayer' will only allow rendering, and a 'copy/paste to the clipboard' routine which can be entered into a Mathematica notebook, but can't be entered into a Flash UI without first scripting the AS for the input.

March 18, 2003

webMathematica Sandboxes

We've got some basic sanboxes set up on the math server, and we're starting to play around with webMathematica and Flash. Small steps so far. You're welcome to come see what we're up to.


February 12, 2003

general expression formatted into a string

For a while now, I've been puzzling over why webMathematica inserts characters around output under some conditions. Now I have my answer.

If a general expression is evaluated, webMathematica formats the output as a string with HTML tags.

To avoid the extra tags, use ToString, around the expression, in your mathlet.


ToString[ Sin[$$num]]


source: webMathematica: 'html tags added to output' topic

December 02, 2002

webMathematica on GG servers temporarily down

We had to do some maintenance to the server with webMathematica on it, and this has caused a temporary lapse in response from webMathematica on said server. We hope to have it up and running again very soon.

November 23, 2002

Juniverse on Wolfram

A view of Wolfram's science
from within academia.

November 12, 2002

European Mathematica Symposium

Hey! There's a Mathematica symposium planned for London!

International Mathematica Symposium 2003

October 24, 2002

Math redirect working again

Yeah, the short link to the GG mathLab is working again. is so much prettier than

October 04, 2002

webMathematica Powers Periodic Table of Elements

GalaxyGoo's Periodic Table with Flash and webMathematica now pulls data directly from webMathematica!

August 27, 2002

MathML central

A new MathML resource! MathML Central: A Wolfram Web Resource

July 24, 2002

"Legend" has it

As requested, I added a simple legend to the Periodic Table project, to show the significance of color in the table.

July 23, 2002

new version of periodic table project

Progress! I've just uploaded a new version of the flash/webMathematica periodic table .

What's new? The symbols for each element now display, along with the atomic number On rollover, element name appears. Data for the symbols and names is pulled into the flash movie from a simple XML file.

July 16, 2002

squeezed out of the table?

While writing an algorithm for arranging the graphics for each element in the periodic table , it struck me how odd the table is...

I recall a chemistry lecture, where the history of the table was briefly presented. Early organizations of the elements seemed odd to me. My fellow students and I then tried to memorize the modern periodic table before the next exam. I've never been talented at rote memorization, so that class contributed little to my understanding of chemistry, nor to my GPA.

Fortunately, for me, that wasn't the end of my education in chemistry. Which brings me back to the topic of this ramble, and one of the projects I'm working on these days: an interactive periodic table, currently in a rough draft state. I've been working on the flash interface, and Brian Higgins (at UCDavis) did the webMathematica development.

The odd thing about the table, from the perspective of writing an algorithm to generate the graphics for it, is the way the Lanthanide and Actinide series' get sqeezed out of the table.

July 10, 2002

Periodic Table: flash interface, webMathematica server-side

Iím having a good day. With the help of some folks on the flashcoder's list, I managed to get the periodic table project interface prototype working.

The table is dynamically generated in flash. When the user clicks on an elementís square, Brian's webMathematica MSP is called, and a pop-up window opens (with info about that element).

So far, the new interface (flash and HTML), is only 2K all together. Thatís down from over 30K for doing the same thing in an HTML table.

Lots of potential for this projectÖIím having fun.