10 projects to try on your Raspberry Pi using this unusual programming language

Coding club body CoderDojo has put together a guide to projects you can try out using the Wolfram Language.

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If you recently bought a Raspberry Pi and are wondering what to do with it, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and CoderDojo have published 10 projects you can try using the Wolfram Language.

The Wolfram Language is different from your typical programming language, in that has a large number of built-in functions for carrying out high-level tasks, such as looking up stock prices or classifying images for facial recognition.

Language creator Stephen Wolfram has explained what he considers sets the language apart.

"It's a new kind of thing. It's what I call a knowledge-based language, it's a language where a vast amount of knowledge about how to do computations and about the world is built right into the language," he said.

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"So, right within the language there are primitives for processing images or laying out networks or looking up stock prices or creating interfaces or solving optimization problems."

This broad sweep of built-in capabilities gives the language abilities that aren't found in most other languages out of the gate, for example, typing currentImage[] captures the current image from the computer's camera.

As such, the language is suited to tasks such as retrieving and working with a wide range of data, everything from written language to geographic information, as well as visualizing that data using relatively few lines of code.

Of course, Wolfram Language has drawbacks, and has been criticized for being poorly documented and better suited to solving a wide range of predetermined tasks, rather than being used to build software.

But it was the language's educational and mathematical focus that led to the Wolfram Language being bundled with the official operating system for the $35 Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi was designed to be a low-cost computer aimed at teaching kids about computers, and the Pi's official Raspbian OS bundles plenty of tools for learning about programming, ranging from Python to the drag-and-drop language Scratch.

Now coding club body CoderDojo, which merged with the Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2017, has put together guides to 10 projects that you can try out with the Wolfram Language.

The projects cover building a simple facial-recognition system, a rock-paper-scissors game, a weather dashboard and more — again using a relatively small number of lines of code.

The guides are clear and concise, with code examples for you to follow throughout.

Wolfram Language is bundled with the version of Raspbian that is offered by the NOOBS installer for the Raspberry Pi.

If you don't have Wolfram language on your Pi, you can install it using the following terminal commands sudo apt-get update followed by sudo apt-get install wolfram-engine.

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By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.