WolframAlpha: A Knowledge Engine

by Gary on May 18, 2009 · 9 comments

in General,News,Search Engines

I spend my weekend playing around with one of the most awesome things to come out in the internet ever – WolframAlpha. If you haven’t heard of it’s the fruit of Stephen Wolfram’s vision and it is real live working computational knowledge engine. Forget search engines for the moment because the geek in me is so excited about this that even if SEOs have no way to benefit from this thing (at least none that I can think of right now) it’s revolutionary enough to be posted on ANY blog or site that considers itself a follower of what’s new in IT.

So what is it about WolframAlpha that’s got me all excited? As I mentioned earlier they do not call it a search engine but a knowledge engine because that’s exactly what it is. Initially when you look at the search box it looks every bit like a search engine but once you get the results you will see why it is a knowledge engine. Instead of returning relevant links what WolframAlpha returns is a summary of information that it has garnered from all over the net. This makes me think about Star Trek, Andromeda, and all the once far fetched sci-fi computers that can answer your questions by doing the data analysis on its own.

The thing about WolframAlpha though is that since it is a computational knowledge engine it won’t return the latest movie show times or restaurant addresses, which is good news to Google and the other search engines because they are still needed for those kind of searches. What WolframAlpha will return though are all the information that I needed way back in college to make my life easier. It will compute any mathematical formula and plot functions, compute relativistic momentum, give you the financial background of a company and extrapolate the data to predict future trend, allow comparison between performance of companies, give you information about any date, and so much more. In short it is what it claims to be a KNOWLEDGE ENGINE.

Right now it’s still pretty mind boggling and I still find myself playfully entering everyone’s birthday so I can see who was born during a full moon and tease them endlessly about it (so far it’s only my father-in-law that answers to the description so I still haven’t got anyone to tease mercilessly!). And in case you plan on asking it also gives the right answer to the only question that matters:

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