An Autobiography in Data

Published by patrick honner on

Stephen Wolfram has given the world Mathematica, MathWorld, and Wolfram Alpha.  His latest contribution to the evolution of mathematics is a highly compelling analysis of 20 years of personal data.

Wolfram has collected data on his emails, his phone calls, and even his keystrokes for the past two decades.  In the above piece, Wolfram takes a look at what that data has to say about his life.  Why did his sleeping habits change around 2002?  What time of day are you most likely to catch him on the phone?  What percentage of keystrokes over the past 20 years have been backspaces?

The results are interesting not merely because Wolfram is such a fascinating person, but because of the potential personal data collection has for all of us.  What sorts of data would tell your story?

What a wonderful idea to explore!  Thanks for sharing, Mr. Wolfram.  You’ve given us a lot to think about.

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York


odelaman · March 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm

For all the interesting things he has done, Stephen Wolfram is a narcissist. I really don’t want to learn about the pattern of his keystrokes.

    MrHonner · March 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    While you may be right, I still think keystroke analysis has merit. In particular, the question “What percentage of my keystrokes are backspaces?” seems quite interesting to me.

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