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The Wolfram Demonstrations Project is developed by Wolfram Research, whose stated goal is to bring computational exploration to the widest possible audience. It consists of an organized, open-source[1] collection of small interactive programs called Demonstrations, which are meant to visually and interactively represent ideas from a range of fields. At its launch it contained 1300 demonstrations[2] but this has grown to over 4000.

The Demonstrations run in Mathematica 6 or above and in Mathematica Player which is a free modified version of Wolfram's Mathematica [3] and available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh. [4]

They typically consist of a very direct user interface to a graphic or visualization, which dynamically recomputes in response to user actions such as moving a slider, clicking a button, or dragging a piece of graphics. Each Demonstration also has a brief description about the concept being shown.

The website is organized into topics such as science[5], mathematics, computer science, art, biology, and finance. They cover a variety of levels, from elementary school mathematics to much more advanced topics, including quantum mechanics and models of biological organisms. The site is aimed at both educators and students, as well as researchers who wish to present their ideas to the broadest possible audience.

Wolfram Research's staff organizes and edits the Demonstrations, which may be created by any user of Mathematica 6, then freely published and freely downloaded. Therefore it serves as a publishing platform within the Mathematica ecosystem, in addition to being an educational resource. The Demonstrations are also open-source, which means that they not only demonstrate the concept itself, but also show how to implement it within the Mathematica system.

The use of the web to transmit small interactive programs is reminiscent of Sun's Java applets, Adobe's Flash, and the open-source processing. However, those creating Demonstrations have access to the broad, industrial scale algorithmic and visualization capabilities of Mathematica. Also, the language used to describe these interfaces is extremely simple and declarative, allowing those without specialized UI knowledge to quickly create them.

The Demonstrations Project also has similarities to user-generated content websites like Wikipedia and Flickr. However, it provides users with an authoring tool, as well as expert input in the creation of the content. Its business model is similar to Adobe's Acrobat and Flash strategy of charging for development tools but providing a free reader.

The site won a Parents Choice award in 2008.[6]


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