Conrad Wolfram

Conrad Wolfram

Conrad Wolfram in transmediale 10 talking about Wolfram Alpha.
Born (1970-06-10) 10 June 1970
Oxford, England, United Kingdom
Residence United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater Cambridge University
Occupation Strategic and international director, Wolfram Research
Known for education reform

Conrad Wolfram (born 10 June 1970) is a British technologist and businessman known for his work in information technology and its application.[1][2] In 2012, The Observer placed him at number 11 in its list of Britain's 50 New Radicals.[3][4]


Wolfram's father Hugo Wolfram was a textile manufacturer and novelist (Into a Neutral Country) and his mother Sybil Wolfram was a professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford. He is the younger brother of Stephen Wolfram.

Born in Oxford, England, in 1970, Wolfram was educated at Dragon School, Eton College and Pembroke College, Cambridge,[5] from which he holds an MA degree in Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He learned to program on a BBC Micro.[6] He is married to primary care ophthalmology consultantant Stella Hornby and has a daughter Sophia Wolfram.

Mathematics education reform

Wolfram has been a prominent proponent of 'Computer-Based Math'- a reform of mathematics education to "rebuild the curriculum assuming computers exist."[7][8] [9][10] and is the founder of[11][12]

He argues, "There are a few cases where it is important to do calculations by hand, but these are small fractions of cases. The rest of the time you should assume that students should use a computer just like everyone does in the real world.".[13] And that "School mathematics is very disconnected from mathematics used to solve problems in the real world".[14] In an interview with the Guardian he described the replacement of hand calculation by computer use as "democratising expertise".[15] He argues that "A good guide to how and what you should do with a computer in the classroom is what you'd do with it outside. As much as possible, use real-world tools in the classroom in an open-ended way not special education-only closed-ended approaches." [16]

In 2009, he spoke about education reform at the TEDx Conference at the EU Parliament.[17][18] and again at TED Global 2010 where he argued that "Maths should be more practical and more conceptual, but less mechanical,"[19] and that "Calculating is the machinery of math - a means to an end."

In August 2012, he was a member of the judging panel at the Festival of Code, the culmination of Young Rewired State 2012.[20] Wolfram is also part of Flooved advisory Board.


Conrad Wolfram founded Wolfram Research Europe Ltd.[21] in 1991 and remains its CEO.[22] In 1996, he additionally became Strategic and International Director[23] of Wolfram Research, Inc., making him also responsible for Wolfram Research Asia Ltd, and communications such as the website.

Wolfram Research was founded by his brother[24] Stephen Wolfram, the maker of Mathematica software and the Wolfram Alpha knowledge engine.[25]

Conrad Wolfram has led the effort to move the use of Mathematica from pure computation system to development and deployment engine,[26][27] instigating technology such as the Mathematica Player family and web Mathematica and by pushing greater automation within the system.[28]

He has also led the focus on interactive publishing technology[29] with the stated aim of "making new applications as everyday as new documents"[30] claiming that "If a picture is worth a thousand words, an interactive document is worth a thousand pictures."[31] These technologies converged to form the Computable Document Format[32] which Wolfram says can "transfer knowledge in a much higher-bandwidth way".[33]


  1. Conrad Wolfram: Geek of the Week 6 Feb 2015
  2. Bing and WolframAlpha catching up with Google in search engine battle?
  3. Britain's 40 New Radicals The Observer
  4. Britain's 50 New Radicals Nesta
  5. giving away software in push into China, The News Gazette, 9 March 2008.
  6. The BBC Microcomputer and me, 30 years down the line BBC News, 1 December 2011
  7. Have We Gotten Math Education All Wrong Huffington Post 11 April 2006
  8. Stop teaching kids to add up - maths is more important Financial Times, 7 October 2015
  9. We need to base maths lessons on computers, The Daily Telegraph, 3 December 2009.
  10. Closing the gap between modern life and the math curriculum New York Times, 10 February 2013
  12. The despair of the dissenting government expert The New Statesman
  13. Introducing the 'sat-nav' maths exam, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, UK
  14. Students fleeing mathematics El Pais, Spain,
  15. WolframAlpha Online Search Engine Calculations, The Guardian, 2 September 2009.
  16. edtechd digest 10 Dec 2010
  17. I calculate therefore I am, Conrad Wolfram, TedX Brussels, YouTube, 2009.
  18. "Speakers at TEDxBurssels 2009". Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  19. Conrad Wolfram wants to reboot the maths curriculum Archived 21 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine., Wired Magazine, 19 July 2010.
  20. Past Judges
  21. Wolfram Alpha goes live, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, UK.
  22. Knowles, Jamillah (15 September 2009). "Guatemala, Wolfram Alpha, Acquine and news". Radio 5, BBC, UK. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  23. A computational knowledge engine for factual queries, The Hindu, India, 25 May 2009.
  24. Can Wolfram Take on Google?, The Daily Telegraph, UK.
  25. Wolfram promises new way to probe the web, The Independent, UK.
  26. Wolfram Releases Mathematica Player 7, Inside HPC, 10 December 2008.
  27. Wolfram Releases Mathematic Player Pro 7, Dr Dobbs Journal.
  28. webMathematica Japanese Edition: Unique Product Brings Computation to the Web, Mathematica Journal, volume 8, issue 4.
  29. Making Science Leap From the Page The New York Times, 17 December 2011
  30. The day that documentes and applications merged, Wolfram Research.
  31. Interactive deployment, Wolfram Research.
  32. Wolfram Alpha Creator plans to delete the PDF The Telegraph (UK)
  33. Conrad Wolfram: computation will release data overload Archived 1 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Wired 28 June 2012

External links

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