From our origins in mathematical and technical computing, Wolfram technologies have gradually emerged as a major force in many other areas of computing. Passionate individuals and organizations have played a major role in helping advance the usage of our technologies. We recognize these deserving recipients with the Wolfram Innovator Award, which is awarded at the Wolfram Technology Conferences around the world.
Professor, Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics Areas: Complex Systems, Education, Mathematical Biology, Physics
Marco Thiel is a professor at the University of Aberdeen who uses Wolfram technologies in various domains, including education and research. A true evangelist, he has introduced hundreds of students and industry professionals alike to the Wolfram Language, and is an active user on Wolfram Community. For the last two years, Dr. Thiel has been using the Wolfram Language to develop algorithms and analyze sensor data of subjects in clinical dementia trials. The analysis is performed on large datasets through the external devices of subjects, and predictive tools, which determine changes in brain connectivity as dementia develops, are created. In his classes, Dr. Thiel utilizes CDF documents to create interactive lecture notes for his students. Using real-world data, students are able to connect topics they learn in other courses through simulations done in real time, instilling computational thinking into students long after they finish the course.
Dr. Chung is a professor at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, and has created an extensive symbolic computing package for versatile manipulation of mathematical expressions using the Wolfram Language. His package includes over 800 functions ranging from basic algebra to functional analysis. The package also contains its own interpreter language, complete online documentation and two palettes for increased ease of execution. Additionally, Dr. Chung maintains the South Korean Mathematica Users group, and is a highly active member of the international community using Wolfram technologies.
Dr. Singh is a quantitative analyst and software engineer at Quiet Light Securities and an early adopter of Wolfram Finance Platform. In conjunction with the CTO, Robert Maxwell, Dr. Singh brought Finance Platform on board to support daily derivative trading operations by developing extensive strategies and volatility surface models, as well as performing backtesting with intraday market tick data. He also provided daily snapshots of company-wide risk through CDF documents that provided insights and satisfied compliance requirements. He also developed an internal training program to bring quants up to speed with Wolfram technologies. In the future, he hopes to utilize the machine learning capabilities of the Wolfram Language to develop advanced trading algorithms through neural networks.
Dr. Reed is an applied mathematician at Aerospace Corporation who uses Mathematica to identify and create various aerospace solutions specific to rocket and satellite design and testing. A certified instructor at Aerospace Corp., he has introduced many colleagues to Wolfram technologies through his classes, where it has become a staple for experimentation. Dr. Reed has two approved patents that involve solving nonlinear boundary-value problems and rely on the Wolfram Language’s modeling and visualization capabilities.
Peter Nilsson is an English teacher and the Director of Research at Deerfield Academy. Earlier this year, he led the development of an introductory course in digital humanities using the Wolfram Language. Designed for students with minimal coding experience, the course focused on four different projects blending students’ previous knowledge from English courses with basic computational concepts—allowing them to dive deeper into and perform textual analysis on famous novels as well as their own writing.
David Milner is a research engineer at SAIC who was introduced to Wolfram technologies in 2016 through Wolfram SystemModeler. His project was the development and simulation of an octocopter—with all aspects of design, including every mechanical, electrical and control system, modeled with SystemModeler and the Wolfram Language. David’s project is now being presented as a potential solution for a vertical takeoff aircraft.
For the last six years, the VCAA has conducted a trial aligning the use of computers in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. This trial involved a number of schools and several hundred students to develop effective methodologies for combining the use of Wolfram technologies and teaching. The trial was successful, resulting in a widespread acceptance of computer-based examinations with 700,000 Victoria students and teachers now having access to Wolfram’s educational-focused tool suite.
Dr. Fazio is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham whose main focus is optical imaging. His research using Wolfram technologies led to several significant NIH grants, including the 2017 Xtreme Research Award from Heidelberg Engineering at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting. This award was granted to Dr. Fazio for creating a custom clinical imaging protocol for glaucoma patients that provides an estimate of the eye-specific mechanical response to time-varying intraocular pressure. Additionally, he created an image processing algorithm that quantifies the 3D structure of the optic nerve from OCT clinical data entirely in the Wolfram Language.
Andrew Yule is a flow assurance specialist at Assured Flow Solutions who developed an internal toolkit written entirely using the Wolfram Language and deployed it to his colleagues through EnterpriseCDF. Containing over 40 different calculations and workflows that are used daily throughout the company, this toolkit centralized Assured Flow Solutions utilities and has completely changed the way the entire organization views data analytics and visualizations. He also uses the Wolfram Cloud to deploy APIs that run calculations as a back end to Visual Basic UIs.
Bryan Minor leads algorithm development and associated intellectual property development as chief scientist at Acquisio in Montreal, Canada. He has developed Bid & Budget Management, a suite of fully automated algorithms for optimizing pay-per-click advertising across publishers, including Google, AdWords, Bing and Yahoo! Japan. Minor uses Mathematica and the Wolfram Language for research and data analysis, with algorithm implementation being focused on the API micro-service architecture of Wolfram Enterprise Private Cloud.
Richard Scott is part of a small group of engineers, pathologists and business development professionals at the pathology department at Mount Sinai working to commercialize image-based prostate cancer prediction models. The design of the analysis algorithms and the majority of the system development and testing were done using Mathematica and the Wolfram Language. One of the key technical advances of Scott’s system is its ability to accurately segment gland rings and fragments from prostate tissue across the full range of disease presentations using a Delaunay triangulation and Voronoi analysis.
As data scientist and concept design leader at Georgia-Pacific, Brian Kanze uses Wolfram technologies to bring innovation to Georgia-Pacific’s consumer products division. He developed a large-scale analysis and reporting tool to assist building owners and managers in forecasting product usage, reporting availability and planning work shifts according to peak usage times. Georgia-Pacific is pioneering new software-based analytic services using Wolfram Language-based technology, and Kanze’s work has identified key areas where this technology can be used to enhance performance and analysis.
As an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta, Samer Adeeb uses Mathematica in teaching continuum mechanics, solid mechanics and finite element method courses, introducing approximately 250 undergraduate and graduate students to the Wolfram Language each year. In addition to advocating for Mathematica’s use on campus, Adeeb provides a free, online civil engineering text utilizing webMathematica. In the future, he plans to transition his site and course materials to Mathematica Online. He is the author of the book Introduction to Solid Mechanics and Finite Element Analysis Using Mathematica, published in 2011.
Maik Meusel is the chair of quantitative business administration at the University of Zurich’s Department of Business Administration. He uses Mathematica and the Wolfram Language to improve the online assessment process. While most assessments use standard multiple-choice questions, Meusel creates dynamic, more sophisticated and individualized questions that allow educators to more accurately assess a student’s mastery of learning objectives. In June 2016, he presented on the topic “Solving Real-World Business Problems in the Classroom” at the Wolfram European Technology Tour.
Ruth Dover is a math instructor at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora, Illinois. As an early adopter of Mathematica, in 1991 she oversaw its installation on IMSA computer lab machines for use with calculus courses for precollege students. Dover was a primary courseware contributor for the Mathematica Teacher’s Edition, shaping how instructors used it to teach math courses. Dover has taught thousands of students how to use Mathematica and the Wolfram Language over the course of her career. She is the author of two Wolfram Demonstrations and was the 1998 recipient of a Wolfram High School Grant.
The team at ValueScape Analytics uses the Wolfram Language and Wolfram technologies to build the cloud-based computational back end for their platform. ValueScape is an innovative data science company providing real estate analytics solutions through Valuation Navigator, an iOS application for appraisers and lending institutions. The company leverages the Wolfram Language running in the cloud to provide statistical analysis, visualization, density plots, and geographic data integration.
Dr. Philip Z. Maymin recently joined Vantage Sports as their Chief Analytics Officer, in which role he helps oversee and create machine learning algorithms, novel visualizations, live interactive tools, backtests, and other robust automated insights from the Vantage dataset. He developed the automated general manager, a suite of CDFs that includes draft projections, trade evaluations, and free agent rankings. It allows users to backtest a systematic strategy and compare it with a team’s actual performance using Mathematica’s machine learning algorithms and performance data. Maymin’s next project is to launch the Analytics Institute of the University of Bridgeport School of Business, with the Wolfram Language as the program’s cornerstone.
Grant Bunker first used Mathematica at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1988 as a beta tester. Since then, he has given numerous talks on Mathematica, encouraging a variety of academic organizations to adopt it in education. Also a longtime commercial user, Bunker founded Quercus X-ray Technologies, LLC, maker of X-ray filtering devices produced with core algorithms developed in the Wolfram Language. Bunker has plans to adopt Mathematica Online for the approximately 3,000 iPads issued to students at IIT—one of the largest campus-coordinated curriculum efforts involving tablets to date in the US.
Dr. Luci Ellis is Head of the Financial Stability Department at the Reserve Bank of Australia, where she led a team of IT developers to create a new internal graphing development process, GraphIT, which creates Mathematica chart objects using .NET. Dr. Ellis has held various positions in economic analysis research and worked on the global macroeconomics team of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. She has written on a range of economic and financial topics, including exchange rates, housing prices, mortgage finance, and factor income shares, and she co-moderates the Mathematica Stack Exchange site under the pseudonym Verbeia. Dr. Ellis continues to advocate for employee adoption of Mathematica and the publishing of CDF-deployed charts while minimizing the Reserve Bank of Australia’s dependency on Excel. Dr. Ellis financed her attendance at the conference herself.
George (Dave) Lawrence first used Mathematica in his work with the gamma ray observatory at Hughes Aircraft and today uses it as a basis for the computational integration of biomedical workflows at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Although he starting using Mathematica for his own population modeling, Lawrence has since helped five hundred medical researchers adopt the Wolfram Language for data analytics. In addition, his ARSTools (Animal Resource System Tools) package linked diverse lab datasets and democratized data for all researchers. After his data analytics system was shown to improve the efficiency of planning new clinical trials by 50%, three other primate research centers began using Wolfram Language applications and EnterpriseCDF technology.
Joseph Hirl started using Mathematica at Enron in the late 1990s. (His group had originally purchased Maple, but broke it within a week.) After making the switch to Wolfram technologies, Hirl developed a commercial tool that analyzes and visualizes energy data for organizations’ buildings. Using “smart meter” data as input—and through extensive processing, pattern recognition, and image visualization—Hirl and his team are able to provide insights related to a building and its behavior under a wide range of conditions. Using EnterpriseCDF as a reporting tool, he demonstrates existing energy inefficiencies and recommends opportunities for improvement through CDF-powered tables, charts, and MRI-like visualizations.
Kale Wallace first started using Mathematica in university courses and has since used it in his work at Southwestern Energy and Samson Energy for data handling and image processing. At Southwestern Energy, Wallace built a well productivity prediction model analyzing millions of lines of data and using machine learning to predict well performance based on drilling and completion parameters. He has also created field-development visualizations showing wells brought online and their corresponding production and cashflow. His replication of the ARIES economics engine in Mathematica allowed probabilistic (Monte Carlo) economics methods, full-field development scenarios, break-even calculations, and go-forward recommendations to be evaluated much more quickly than could be done in ARIES.
Mark Adler is best known for his work in the field of data compression as the author of the Adler-32 checksum function, and as co-author of the zlib compression library and gzip. He was also the Spirit Cruise Mission Manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission and is an instrument-rated private pilot, a certified scuba diver, and an amateur theater actor. Mark has used Mathematica for decades, including during his work on the Mars Exploration Mission. Using NDSolve and numeric integers, the team simulated entry through a variety of changing conditions to mitigate risk and more accurately predict a successful landing.
Paul Abbott has used Mathematica extensively for research in wavelets and few-body atomic physics and to explore problems in computational and mathematical physics. He received a computational science award for his course in computational physics and has lectured on Mathematica in the United States, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and India, and at several Australian universities. Abbott worked for Wolfram Research from 1989 to 1991, has served as a contributing editor of The Mathematica Journal since 1990, and has worked as a consultant to Wolfram Research since 1997.
Dr. Carvallo’s long-term vision for using Wolfram technologies to innovate education and research in Ecuador has introduced academic services and professional research previously unknown or underused in Ecuador, including high-speed internet access, research repositories, Eduroam, Telemedicine, and high-performance computing services. Under his leadership at CEDIA (National Research and Education Network of Ecuador), Dr. Carvallo leverages Wolfram technologies to develop, document, and systematize education and research efforts and resources in Ecuador. He is devoted to creating the next generation of scientific, educational, and research talent needed to support a knowledge-driven economy within the country.