Stephen Wolfram - What Is The Future Of Computing? #79


Stephen Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha and the Wolfram Language; the author of A New Kind of Science; the originator of the Wolfram Physics Project; and the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research. Stephen is shaping the future of computing every day.

Over the course of more than four decades, he has been a pioneer in the development and application of computational thinking. He has been responsible for many discoveries, inventions and innovations in science, technology and business.


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A note from Grant

First published scientific paper at 15. Doctorate in Theoretical Physics from CalTech by 20.  Macarthur Genius grant at 21. Creator of Mathematica.  Creator of a programming language designed to bring humans ever closer to knowledge representations stored in computers. Author of numerous books, CEO.  The list goes on and I simply can’t do it justice in a teaser intro to a podcast.

Today’s guest, Dr. Stephen Wolfram has a list of accomplishments a mile long that reflect a long career at the center of, in the words of one of his most famous books, a New Kind of Science.

A science with computation at its heart.

A science that powers much of our modern world.

Practically speaking, his approach has birthed a company of 800 employees working on ground breaking tools like Mathematica, Wolfram Alpha and the Wolfram Language.

Stay tuned, as you’re not going to want to miss this episode as we sync up with Stephen Wolfram.

-Grant Ingersoll


“Most of science is incremental. But there are these rare moments when fields of science have this explosion of activity and there’s tons of low hanging fruit to be picked.”

“My main interest is in making great products and pushing the frontiers of what is possible. It isn’t really maximizing the commercial results.”

“Very simple programs that have less than a line of code in Wolfram language can do very complicated things. It seems like that’s how a lot of nature works. It seems increasingly that’s how physics works. Thats how our universe is put together.”

“We’re trying to raise the level of how computation can be used by a much broader range of people and its working!”

“The idea that space and time are the same kind of thing is basically wrong. It was a sort of mathematical gloss on top of Einsteins theory of relativity. The mathematics works on nicely, but on the conceptual level it’s the wrong way to go.”

—Stephen Wolfram

Key Milestones

  1. Much of Stephen’s early years have been covered in the intro and elsewhere, like his interview with Guy Kawasaki. What inspired Stephen to get into physics and what was it like being so much younger than many classmates?
  2. Stephen was on this academic track and then decided to go the commercial route. What were those early years of starting a company and what drove Stephen’s work?
  3. Stephen has been at the helm of Wolfram Research for most of his career. What are some of the key moments, the key wins, the key losses, that helped shape Stephen and the company?
  4. What is the Wolfram language?
  5. The future of computing and how it is related to physics?
  6. What is the complexity theory?
  7. The fundamental theory of physics!
  8. Why did Stephen decide to get back into physics after 40 years?!
  9. Stephen has been a CEO for 30+ years and has had 800+ employees. What has been his approach to relationships, hiring and leadership?

Additional Resources

Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine and an incredible tool -

Listen to Guy Kawasaki interview Stephen Wolfram -

Stephen’s writings about his personal infrastructure -

Check out Stephen’s book - A Project to Find the Fundamental Theory of Physics -

Stephen Wolfram’s TED talk about Wolfram Alpha and the future of computing

Connect with Stephen Wolfram

Connect with Grant Ingersoll