Q&A ABOUT THE DOWNLOADABLE PROGRAMS
Q: Do I need the book to use the programs?
Yes. The programs are tied directly into the text in the Notes at the back of the book.
Q: What do I need to run the programs?
The programs are all written in the Wolfram Language, the language powering Mathematica, Wolfram Development Platform, Wolfram Programming Lab and other Wolfram Language-based desktop, cloud and mobile products. You will need to install a Wolfram application on your device or have access via the Wolfram Cloud to run the programs. If you're at a Wolfram Technology System institution, you may already have access available to you.
Q: Can I do anything with the programs without a Wolfram Language-based product?
Yes. The Wolfram Language is a symbolic notation that can be read not only by computers but also by humans. Often reading a program from the Notes is the best way to understand the details of what a particular note in A New Kind of Science says. There are hundreds of books available to help you learn the Wolfram Language; the original one is Stephen Wolfram's The Mathematica Book. Wolfram's An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language was published in 2015. It provides an introduction to computational thinking and programming with the Wolfram Language, and is available in print and as an ebook.
Q: Why are the programs written in the Wolfram Language?
One of the reasons Stephen Wolfram created the Wolfram Language was precisely to be able to do the computations in A New Kind of Science. He designed the Wolfram Language as symbolic notation that lets a very wide range of concepts and procedures be specified in a convenient way. Most of the programs here would be very difficult to write without the symbolic programming capabilities of the Wolfram Language—and certainly wouldn't provide a clear presentation of the ideas they embody.
Q: Could the Wolfram Language programs be translated into other programming languages?
In principle, yes. But in practice most of the programs make essential use of the unique high-level symbolic programming capabilities of the Wolfram Language. So they would end up being much longer in other languages and would almost always lose clarity and readability.
Q: What's the best way to understand the programs?
One of the great things about a symbolic program is that any fragment of it can always be run on its own. So often a good thing to do will be to pull out pieces of the programs and run them to see what they do, then gradually to put these pieces together to get back to the whole program. It's also often convenient to create whole sequences of Wolfram Language inputs programmatically. And it can be very good to display a sequence of outputs graphically.
Q: Can I get technical support on the programs?
You can get support for your Wolfram product according to standard Wolfram Research policies.
Q: What format are the files on this website?
The files on this site are Wolfram Notebooks—structured symbolic documents that can be read by Wolfram Language desktop, mobile and cloud applications, such as Mathematica, Mathematica Online, Development Platform, Programming Lab and CDF Player.