Understanding the Moden Finance Platform using Wolfram
Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 11:19AM
Charlie in Digital Financial Reporting

Wolfram is one of the most amazing things that I have seen in a long time.  Wolfram includes a programming language. This video does an excellent job explaining the Wolfram language.

The Wolfram language is integrated with a curated public data repository. You can contribute to that publicly available repository. You can curate and add your own personal data repositories. You can create community-based data repositories.

Wolfram is a curated knowledge base. Wolfram is an engine.  Wolfram is cloud-based, but you can also install it locally on your computer or you can create a private cloud specifically for your organization.

What is particularly interesting is the idea that you can manage metadata on something like GitHub, it can be branched, forked, and then integrated with Wolfram.  I am prototypeing some metadata in GitHub.  I created topics information that is XBRL-based and formatted in CSV.  I will fiddle around with Wolfram and see what I can get it to do with all the metadata that I have created. Another interesting thing about Wolfram is that it converts XML into a format it understands. That makes all the syntax issues irrelevant.

You can try out Wolfram using their cloud interface, Wolfram ONE or the Wolfram Development Platform. There is extensive documentation and code samples.

There are others building out the modern finance platform including BlackLine, Workiva, SAP, Oracle, Intuit, Xero, Microsoft Dynamics, and others. Wolfram is a general tool that can be specialized.

Again, if you have not already done so, I would encourage you to read the document Computer Empathy.  It will help you understand what is going on and why Wolfram and other such technologies seem so interesting.  Stephen Wolfram is saying the same thing I am saying in Computer Empathy in his blog post, How to Teach Computational Thinking.  Computational thinking is about formulating things with enough clarity, and in a systematic enough way, that one can tell a computer how to do them.

What he calls "computational thinking" I simply call "logic" or "business logic".

Article originally appeared on Intelligent XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting using US GAAP and IFRS (http://xbrl.squarespace.com/).
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