Here’s a very simple example of a computational essay:

"I saw it with perfect distinctness--all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones....[N]othing else of the old man's face or person [could be seen]."

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The disease had sharpened my senses--not destroyed--not dulled them.

Above all was the sense of hearing acute.

But the point is that with a computational essay, once you’ve found what you want, the code to implement it is right there—immediately ready to be applied to whatever has come up.

I heard all things in the heavens and in the earth.

The narrator, in this particular story, adds to the overall effect of horror by continually stressing to the reader that he or she is not mad, and tries to convince us of that fact by how carefully this brutal crime was planned and executed.

I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him."

The old man did not lie back down; he was sitting up.

OK, so if a computational essay is done, say, as homework, how can it be assessed? A first, straightforward question is: does the code run? And this can be determined pretty much automatically. Then after that, the assessment process is very much like it would be for an ordinary essay. Of course, it’s nice and easy to add cells into a notebook to give comments on what’s there. And those cells can contain runnable code—that for example can take results in the essay and process or check them.

He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not."

The technology of Wolfram Notebooks makes it straightforward to put in interactive elements, like , into computational essays. And sometimes this is very helpful, and perhaps even essential. But interactive elements shouldn’t be overused. Because whenever there’s an element that requires interaction, this reduces the ability to skim the essay.

The old man's terror have been extreme."

So what can go wrong? Well, like English prose, Wolfram Language code can be unnecessarily complicated, and hard to understand. In a good computational essay, both the ordinary text, and the code, should be as simple and clean as possible. I try to enforce this for myself by saying that each piece of input should be at most one or perhaps two lines long—and that the caption for the input should always be just one line long. If I’m trying to do something where the core of it (perhaps excluding things like display options) takes more than a line of code, then I break it up, explaining each line separately.

There was no real motive as stated by the narrator: "Object there was none.

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I actually only learned about ciphering books quite recently. For about 20 years I’d had essentially as an artwork a curious handwritten notebook (created in 1818, it says, by a certain George Lehman, apparently of ), with pages like this:

Carefully, he turned the latch to the door, and opened it without making a sound.

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Sometimes there’s a fair amount of data—or code—that’s needed to set up a particular computational essay. The cloud is very useful for handling this. Just deploy the data (or code) to the Wolfram Cloud, and set appropriate permissions so it can automatically be read whenever the code in your essay is executed.

When a sufficient opening had been made, a covered lantern was thrust inside.

Find the first translation in each case:

At the core of computational essays is the idea of expressing computational thoughts using the Wolfram Language. But to do that, one has to know the language. Now, unlike human languages, the Wolfram Language is explicitly designed (and, yes, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 30+ years) to follow definite principles and to be as easy to learn as possible. But there’s still learning to be done.