It is absolutely fascinating!
It is the confluence of human-computer interaction with the exciting bits happening in the cloud. Yes, it is going to change the way we “do things”, but change is difficult.
My initial reaction was that it is some kind of a “notebook application” (again!), but I was wrong. Read on (at the link below).
I can foresee how we can adapt this to our workflows in Radiation Oncology. We just need a platform (and willing trialists). Will it translate into better patient care? I have no idea. However, it would help the algorithms to scale up.
Interestingly, the treatment planning systems have one codified “commercial algorithm” that matches the “gold-standard” Monte Carlo. Since there are no product updates, we have no idea if anything is really better out there.
It’s always a sign that something is important when it immediately changes the way one works. And that’s certainly something that’s happened for me with notebook publishing.
I might give a talk where I build up a notebook, say doing a live experiment or a demonstration. And then at the end of the talk, I’ll do something new: I’ll publish the notebook to the cloud (either by pressing the button or using CloudPublish). Then I’ll make a QR code of the notebook URL (say using BarcodeImage), and show it big on the screen. People in the audience can then hold up their phones to read the QR code—and then just click the URL, and immediately be able to start using my notebook in the Wolfram Cloud on their phones.
I can tell that notebook publishing is getting me to write more, because now I have a convenient way to distribute what I write. I’ll often do computational explorations of one thing or another. And in the past, I’d just store the notebooks I made in my filesystem (and, yes, over 30+ years I’ve built up a huge number). But now it’s incredibly fast to add some text to turn the notebooks into computational essays—that I can immediately publish to the cloud, so anyone can access them.