Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wolfram Alpha: The Knowledge Search Engine Goes Live

Wolfram Alpha is now live!

Prior to the much-awaited launch of Wolfram Alpha, there’d been hype over the past weeks that this would be “the engine that would rival Google’s”. But definitely, it won’t be and it won’t be a competitor! Wolfram Alpha is different from the traditional search engine; it provides new approach to search which they call “computational”. Google lists web pages relevant to the search term, whereas, at Wolfram Alpha, a user inserts a question which is then digested and the answer is computed based on its collection of data.
This is a site for answers to factual questions, but with lesser detail. Could it possibly be a Wikipedia contender?

Wolfram prefers to call it a “computational knowledge engine”. It tries to answer diverse questions or calculations from the simplest to the most complex ones. It can handle mathematical questions, physics and chemistry. It can generate and compare statistics, and build charts and graphs based on the data. It could really act like a giant scientific calculator. Indeed, it is an amazing and powerful tool! This would definitely be a huge help for most students, educators and academicians, scientists and the inquisitive public. This is a great supplement and research tool repertoire.

Wolfram Alpha’s Goal:
WolframAlpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone.
WolframAlpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people.
WolframAlpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come.

I've tried using Wolfram Alpha to see for myself what it can deliver; and this
is the coolest response I got -
Where are you?
Response: I live on the Internet

A few other simple queries -
Question: who is wolfram alpha?

wolfram alpha Question: $2000 to Philippine Pesowolfram alpha
I've tried a variety of queries such as getting information from an airline and a URL; calories and nutritional value computation; weather forecasts, population and unemployment rates, stocks analysis, gravitational computation, statistical analysis... and a whole lot more!

This is the most amazing so far - calculate the derivative of a function derivative of x^4 sin x. Here's the complete results and you can even check on the steps on how it arrived to that solution:
wolfram alpha
Wolfram is officially launched and is now available. With its pros and cons, I am still off to exploring Wolfram Alpha while the engine is still hot!


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