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Wolfram Language on Intel Edison Computer

Posted 11 years ago
Few hours ago, I came across an article on the Edison Computer, an SD-card sized dual core computer.

I also learned that Intel and Wolfram are working to gether to intergrate Wolfram Language into the computer on the Wolfram research news.

However, I wasn't too sure what was meant by "pairing Wolfram Language... with Intel Edison".

Does that mean...

a) Wolfram Language will be the Operating System of the Intel Edison.
b) Wolfram Language will be the language for the apps developed for the Intel Edison.
c) Wolfram Language will be a nifty option in the Intel Edison.
d) Or something else I am entirely unaware of.

I am very excited for the Wolfram Language and the Edison Computer, and I would appreciate it if I could know a little bit more about it.

Thank you,
POSTED BY: Seokin Yeh
9 Replies

Just wanted to ask if there is any progress on the Edison implementation of the Wolfram Language. Would be great... :-)

Posted 10 years ago

I finally got my hands on some Intel Edison boards, and yes, those do work and are unbelievably tiny for an embedded x86 system! It would be much more interesting with Wolfram Engine, though...

Eagerly waiting for any news on the subject.

POSTED BY: Jari Kirma
Posted 10 years ago

@Rodrigo Murta

Someone from WRI commented this - no doubt without official guarantees - recently on Mathematica StackExchange chat, and yes, it would appear to be actively worked on by them.

A side note: comments I posted (almost a year ago!) on Intel Edison board are not entirely correct any more, since Intel more or less completely replaced their Edison design, including the SoC. Now it's a considerably more powerful design with two latest-generation Intel Atom cores, and lots of technical data is publicly available. General computing power of this design should be considerably higher than that of a Raspberry Pi.

Yet, it's still a "headless" design. It's clearly targeted for sensors, robotics, and equipment without complex built-in UIs one would expect to see on traditional computers. "Internet of Things", as it's called now.

POSTED BY: Jari Kirma

Intel Edison was launched today, but no reference to Wolfram Language or Mathematica.

Will Mathematica still work on it?

How license model will works?

Here Intel site link.

POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta
Posted 11 years ago
@Seokin Yeh:

(Just to clarify: these are purely my personal opinions. I'm not affiliated with WRI, and I'm not aware of any documentation from Intel that would actually take away the guesswork.)

Just to paraphrase my feelings, also expressed by many others on Intel Edison and Quark CPU: it's a strange beast. It would seem to be impossible to understand what market sense it makes. It is hard to understand what is the valuable market segment it tries to catch. Performance-wise, it's clearly below handheld (tablet/phone) ARM CPUs dominating that market, easily by a factor of ten. It is excessively beefy (think of price and power consumption) to compete with microcontrollers on mass-market applications. Why does it exist?

I believe Intel is trying to catch some brainshare of recently emerged tinkerer market, which has traditionally been dominated by AVR microcontrollers, but now increasingly ARM based devices. Intel has to do something, and Edison/Quark has the chances to slow down this brain drain. Quark SoCs can't cost many dollars to manufacture, and most of the design either uses old (i486 microarchitecture, ~1989!) or industry-standard building blocks. I give them chance to prove my doubts overreaching, but usually the strongest skill on reading product announcements like this is to understand what they *didn't* say.

This doesn't mean it wouldn't be interesting platform for running Wolfram code. It just means that if you think it as a standalone platform, you will be hugely disappointed. Edison is definitely targeted for environments where its purpose is usually to connect and interact with more beefy devices, Internet-of-Things way.
POSTED BY: Jari Kirma
Thank you for your answers.

I guess that the articles I've read were too optimistic and speculative. Nevertheless, I am excited for the Intel Edision and its future developement.

I am most excited about the possibility of cdf player on phones and similiar devices so I can access mathematica anywhere I want.

Thank you again for the answers to my curiosity.
POSTED BY: Seokin Yeh
Posted 11 years ago
@Seokin Yeh:

Publicly available material on Intel Edison (both from Intel and, among other things, CES videos) would indicate Edison to be one step further towards the direction of embedded computing/automation, that is one step further that direction from Raspberry Pi. CPU horsepower of Edison is clearly lower than that if RPi, and RPi has very lowly CPU even by modern tablet/smartphone standards.

It is also likely system-on-chip implementation on Edison has no built-in graphics in the sense they're commonly understood. In most embedded applications, they're not necessary (and Intel didn't demo them!), and low number of contacts on the reverse side of the board (Secure Digital card pads + roughly dozen I/O pads, likely GPIO, PWM and/or SPI - and with small likelihood, USB?) makes prospect of RPi-like graphics unlikely.

Exact specifications of Intel Edison and its' SoC, apart from the fact it has Quartz based CPU and publicly announced peripherals, are unknown at this point. My strong personal hunch is that from Mathematica user viewpoint, Edison can be mostly considered a "headless" (that is, displayless, and largely UI-less) Linux platform running network-reachable Mathematica kernel with emphasis on access to whatever is connected to the I/O pins - with great likelihood simple GPIO-based on/off indicators and controls, PWM-based speed controls, and more complicated sensors, controllers and user interfaces on SPI.

Typically at tinkering phase, one would use Wolfram kernel on the board as a remote kernel from PC Mathematica front-end. I/O would be interactively accessible this way. Typical goal would be designing a control system or data logging and postprocessing device based on headless kernel and devices connected through the I/O. Once completed, code would be left to run - and start at boot - on the board, maybe with some level of "cloud" deployment - pushing data to and pulling it from some other network-accessible service. Wolfram Cloud, maybe? Limited UI (think of simplistic Manipulate) deployment through Bluetooth and a phone app would be... interesting, but maybe too much to hope.

If executed well, I can see Mma on Intel Edison (and hardware platforms that with almost certain likelihood will replace it in the future) synergize nicely with WRI cloud and connected devices efforts. There are missing pieces, though. One of the biggest in my opinion is licensing - is all this essentially limited to hobbyist endeavors? At this point, it'd seem so.
POSTED BY: Jari Kirma
I've read some articles on the Edison.

As far as I understand, Edison is a micro-motherboard. I believe that it is expected to be used in micro computers or tablets.

So my next question is, does that mean a full mathematica will be availiable on a phone-sized device? I imagine that would be something far more exciting than what raspberry pi is already capable of. (do not misunderstand me, Raspberry Pi is amazing on its own).

And thank you for the answers.
POSTED BY: Seokin Yeh
There are more details available in the articles about Edison than I have time to list here.

Mathematica isn't an operating system. It is a program that will be installed on the chip like it is for the raspberry Pi. You won't be locked into only using Mathematica to write programs on it. I guess C would be the most accurate answer then. 
POSTED BY: Sean Clarke
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