Stephen Wolfram recently described his programming language — called, understandably, Wolfram Language — as his "most important project." The easy-to-use language, Wolfram says in his blog, allows users to "describe and compute about things in the world." But that's not enough for the British scientist: he says we also need a way to "measure and interface" with those things.
Devices can be compared and contrasted using data from the Project and Wolfram Alpha
That's why he's introduced the Wolfram Connected Devices Project. The project is a repository of device information, a database that keeps track of the size, price, and specifications of electronic products as varied as heart monitors and GPS trackers. The information, Wolfram says in a blog post, is designed to be computable, and can be used to search through Wolfram's "knowledge engine," Wolfram Alpha. Device specifications can be quickly compared by searching for their names specifically, or users can input search ranges, asking for cellphones or watches of a certain size, price, or weight.
Wolfram wants to see all devices connected with his programming language
The project currently contains details for a few thousand devices from some 300 companies, a number that Wolfram says will grow "quite rapidly" in the months ahead. That growth will be aided by the introduction of Wolfram Data Framework, a framework, Wolfram says, that is "the world's most complete system for handling physical quantities and their units." WDF has "a couple of thousand" physical qualities such as torque and length, as well as almost 10,000 measurement units built in. Wolfram also promises that data will be analyzable with the Wolfram Data Science Platform. The platform — which Stephen Wolfram says is still being built — will let users visualize its data "using all the sophistication of the Wolfram Language."
Speaking about the range of electronic products already included in the project, Wolfram acknowledges the line between "device" and "component" is fuzzy, but explains his categorization: "If it measures some physical quantity, and can be connected to a general-purpose computer using some standard connector or connection technology," then it counts as a connected device.
It's Stephen Wolfram's desire to see all types of these devices connected together and "seamlessly integrated" with the Wolfram Language. He suggests a future where each device has its own Wolfram Language driver that will allow it to connect to all other devices using "some kind of small embeddable computer system" to create an "Internet of Things." By starting to round up all the devices that would eventually make up that new network, the Connected Devices Project is one of the first steps toward that vision.