A few years ago, Wolfram Inc. not only started to rename things around Mathematica, a lot of new technologies and frameworks were introduced as well. Now, we are left with a lot of acronyms and similar sounding frameworks/technologies and it is hard to keep track what they do and how they are related to Mathematica.

One prominent example is the acronym WSTP which is the new acronym for the famous MathLink protocol that was renamed. If that itself was not enough, we nowadays have to deal with WDF, W|A, WPL, WPC or with products like Wolfram Data Science Platform that have descriptions which raise more questions than they answer:

[..] a revolutionary system for data science. Take numerical, textual, image, GIS or other data and give it the Wolfram treatment, carrying out a full spectrum of data science analysis and visualization and automatically generating rich interactive reports — all powered by the revolutionary knowledge-based Wolfram Language.

Well, this is exactly what I do with my local Mathematica, or should I rather say my Wolfram Desktop Option for Wolfram Cloud Products? Who knows? Clear is that most of those technologies use a Mathematica Kernel at their core.

Question: Can we assemble a list of acronyms and names of Mathematica related frameworks, technologies or products and add a short and clear description how they relate to Mathematica?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As far as I am concerned it still is MathLInk, and as support I give Names["MathLink`*"] versus Names["WSTP`*"] :^) $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Jan 29, 2016 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


Here is a first try to assemble names of important technologies or products around Mathematica. I tried to give appropriate links and a clear description for each entry, so than new users have an idea what these things mean.

For some entries though, I just was not able to give an exact definition and especially, how they relate to a normal Mathematica. Feel free to add concise information.

  • ArduinoLink: A Wolfram Language interface for Arduino that was first promoted during the 2012 Wolfram Technology Conference. Since version 10.1 Mathematica has its functionality built-in.
  • CDF - Computable Document Format: A file format for sharing dynamic Mathematica content that can be opened with the free Mathematica Player. A large amount of examples can be found on the Wolfram Demonstrations website.
  • CUDALink: Allows Mathematica to call CUDA parallel computing architecture on your graphics card.
  • DatabaseLink: A toolkit for working with SQL databases.
  • JLink: A Java API for for Wolfram Symbolic Transfer Protocol (WSTP). If you want to connect your Java program to a Mathematica Kernel, this is the place to start.
  • MathKernel: Now known as Wolfram Kernel (please see there).
  • ML - MathLink: This was the name of the WSTP API for 20 years until it was renamed for marketing reasons. Therefore, most C functions starting with WSxxx still have their MLxxx counterpart, but you should consider the MathLink API as deprecated and use WSTP.
  • .NET/Link: A framework that let's you call .NET directly from within Mathematica.
  • OpenCLLink: Allows Mathematica to use the OpenCL parallel computing language.
  • RLink: A Mathematica application that let's you call the statical software R from within Mathematica.
  • W|A - Wolfram|Alpha: A web-based free-form input engine that lets you do dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods.
  • WB - Wolfram Workbench: The official integrated development environment for Mathematica packages.
  • webMathematica: Offers to develop web browser interfaces that then call an underlying Mathematica to make calculations and analysis.
  • WC - Wolfram Community: A forum for technologies related to Mathematica, run by Wolfram Research.
  • Wolfram Data Drop: Basically, this is an online service that let's you accumulate data from all kinds of devices through different protocols to use it for analysis and visualization with Mathematica.
  • WDF - Wolfram Data Framework: It uses the Wolfram Language and the Wolfram Knowledgebase to provide a standardized representation of real-world constructs and data.
  • Wolfram Data Science Platform: Details are not clear, but it is probably a kind of automated data analysis and report framework.
  • Wolfram Development Platform $\rightarrow$ WPC (Wolfram Programming Cloud) below.
  • Wolfram Device Analytics Platform listed with $\rightarrow$ Wolfram Data Drop ; unclear as of now.
  • Wolfram Discovery Platform: Not published yet and details are not clear. Probably a combination of different technologies around Mathematica to help R&D teams.
  • Wolfram Engine: Although not explicitly stated, this is most likely just another word for Wolfram Kernel.
  • Wolfram Finance Platform: A Wolfram product that aims specifically to financial analysis. It seems to be a combination of Mathematica/CDF Enterprise and differs primarily from those as stand alones by the addition of a link to Bloomberg.
  • Wolfram Kernel: Formerly known as Math Kernel, it is the core of Mathematica that does all the computations. When you type something into the Front End and evaluate it, then it is sent to the Mathematica Kernel which in return sends the result back. For communication between Kernel and Front End the Wolfram Symbolic Transfer Protocol (formerly known as MathLink) is used.
  • WL - Wolfram Language: Formerly known as the Mathematica Language. It is the programming language that is used in Mathematica notebooks and packages and in all related products like WPL.
  • Wolfram LibraryLink: Is a framework in Mathematica that let's you connect (your own) external libraries (dll, so, dylib) directly to the MathKernel. Then, Mathematica can directly call these library functions as if it were usual Mathematica functions.
  • NLU - Wolfram Natural Language Understanding System: This seems to be the language understanding framework behind Wolfram|Alpha and not a product itself.
  • Wolfram Mathematica Online: A Mathematica running in the cloud with real notebook interface. Not all features are working and the exact differences to WPL are not clear.
  • Wolfram|One "Cloud-desktop hybrid, integrated computation platform" according to description on the site; seems to be positioned as an (entry level) SaaS-solution.
  • WPC - Wolfram Programming Cloud: The original name for the Wolfram Development Platform. The name change was announced in an email to users on September 22, 2015. One can find the name still on the Wolfram Private Cloud page.
  • WPL - Wolfram Programming Lab: Online development environment for programming Wolfram Language.
  • PLI - Programmable Linguistic Interface: Seems to be a subset of functions in Mathematica that help creating natural-language interfaces.
  • WRI - Wolfram Research Inc.: The name of the company behind Mathematica that was founded in 1987 by Stephen Wolfram and Theodore Gray.
  • WSTP - Wolfram Symbolic Transfer Protocol: Formerly known as MathLink (ML). It is both, a protocol that defines how Mathematica expressions can be exchanged between programs, and it is the C-API that is extensively used for the communication between the MathKernel and its FrontEnd.
  • WTC - Wolfram Technology Conference: The main conference is the annual conference at the WRI headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. Another one is the European WTC.
  • wolframtap - Wolfram Tweet-a-Program: A Twitter bot run by Wolfram Research that evaluates messages sent to it as Wolfram Language code and responds with an image of the result.
  • UDS - Wolfram Universal Deployment System: It is completely unclear whether this is a product itself or just a name.
  • Wolfram UUID: A unique permanent identifier associated with a user.

Note: The entries in this list are sorted by their full name if it exists and not their acronym.

  • $\begingroup$ If you feel that I missed some important thing, then comment and I'll add it to the list. I have not included all link technologies but only the IMO most important ones that have many questions here on SE. Additionally, please help to clear up WPC, WPL, Mathematica Online, W Finance, W Discov P, W Data Framew. What exactly are they doing and how do they relate to Mathematica? $\endgroup$
    – halirutan
    Jan 22, 2016 at 2:46
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Wow! There are still few places for dumping my W's leftovers! $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2016 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Moo Ha, haven't seen this. Everything counts that the community is interested in. I wouldn't take SystemModeller because it is far off of Mathematica, but I believe it is a good thing to clear up related technologies. $\endgroup$
    – halirutan
    Jan 22, 2016 at 3:23
  • 36
    $\begingroup$ I would like to add WTF, which is the feeling a user has when Mathematica crashes unexpectedly all too often. The same acronym is also the feeling when one realizes that WRI has been focusing on bloatware and vaporware instead of improving performance of core functionality and fixing bugs. :P $\endgroup$
    – rm -rf
    Jan 22, 2016 at 4:56
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @Mr.Wizard and all others: I made my answer community wiki. Please help to make this a useful post and clear up some of the vague Wolfram marketing speech. $\endgroup$
    – halirutan
    Jan 22, 2016 at 10:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.