Stephen Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram Alpha and the Wolfram Language; the author of A New Kind of Science; and the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research. Over the course of nearly four decades, he has been a pioneer in the development and application of computational thinking—and has been responsible for many discoveries, inventions and innovations in science, technology and business.
He published his first scientific paper at the age of 15, and had received his PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech by the age of 20. Wolfram's early scientific work was mainly in high-energy physics, quantum field theory and cosmology, and included several now-classic results. Having started to use computers in 1973, Wolfram rapidly became a leader in the emerging field of scientific computing, and in 1979 he began the construction of SMP—the first modern computer algebra system—which he released commercially in 1981.
Wolfram began the development of Mathematica in late 1986. The first version of Mathematica was released on June 23, 1988, and was immediately hailed as a major advance in computing. In the years that followed, the popularity of Mathematica grew rapidly, and Wolfram Research became established as a world leader in the software industry, widely recognized for excellence in both technology and business. From its beginnings as a technical computing system, Mathematica has grown dramatically in scope over the years—and over the course of more than a quarter of a century, it has been responsible for many important inventions and discoveries in a vast range of fields and industries, as well as being a central tool in the education of generations of students.
In 2014 Wolfram made another breakthrough, building on Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha to create the Wolfram Language. Based on the unprecedentedly deep technology stack that Wolfram has developed over the course of three decades, the Wolfram Language introduces the new concept of a knowledge-based language, in which immense knowledge about computation and the world is integrated, and a new level of highly automated programming becomes possible, that both enables more sophisticated applications than ever before, and opens up programming to a much broader range of people.
Wolfram has been involved with education for many years, founding the Wolfram Summer School in 2003, and in 2015 publishing An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language to introduce young students and others to modern computational thinking. Long interested in history and in people and their trajectories, Wolfram published a collection of essays entitled Idea Makers in 2016 giving his personal perspectives on the lives and ideas of a variety of notable people.
Wolfram has been president and CEO of Wolfram Research since its founding in 1987. In addition to his corporate leadership, Wolfram is deeply involved in the development of the company's technology, personally overseeing the functional design of the company's core products on a daily basis, and constantly introducing new ideas and directions.
Wolfram is a sought-after advisor, mentor and speaker in corporate, entrepreneurial and educational settings. He and his wife have four children and live in Concord, Massachusetts.