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Exploring WolframAlpha

Tweet Tonight I’ve been having a play around with WolframAlpha … it’s not really due to go live until Monday US time, but they are doing some load testing and other bits over the next couple of days. If you are lucky, you might just find it running. So what is WolframAlpha? Well to be [...]

Tonight I’ve been having a play around with WolframAlpha … it’s not really due to go live until Monday US time, but they are doing some load testing and other bits over the next couple of days. If you are lucky, you might just find it running.

So what is WolframAlpha?

Well to be honest, there are plenty of articles out there answering this. None the least Wolfram’s own FAQ will give you the great answers. I can tell you this, it is NOT (I repeat) NOT a search engine.




As you can see from the image above a search for www.studiowhiz.com does NOT return any results or links to this site. What the site does tell us is thing it knows (note that, these results are what WolframAlpha knows about) about studiowhiz – the domain.

Why all the fuss?

Well see, people have come out and said that WolframAlpha will challenge Google, make wikipedia freak out and .. well almost every other statement under the sun.

Meh, okay sure, whatever … lets just stop for a second and figure out why there really is fuss around this new site.

Computational Knowledge Engine

WolframAlpha is built ontop of the hugely successful Mathmatica – this (Mac app) has been powering some of the top research and mathmatic research teams for years. This gives WolframAlpha unparalleled computational understanding – meaning it can take our simple (or complex) queries and return results that it deems valuable to you the user.

WolframAlpha is different to Google, in that Google actively seeks out your website, indexes the content within and then drives traffic to your site.

WolframAlpha leverages the web (information sources) to populate it’s own database of knowledge, from which it pulls information (compares information, does calculations etc) and shows this information to you. It does NOT link to your site, or other sites.

WolframAlpha could revolutionize the internet.

WolframAlpha could change the way we use the internet. Lets say you are doing some research on the population of Italy – why visit 5 or 6 websites to hunt out the information you want, when one question on WolframAlpha provides ALL the information you need in one page?

WolframAlpha is not about finding data, WolframAlpha is about providing answers.

Why do I like it?

I love it, I love it’s differences to what’s out there now. I love the look, the polished finish to the design elements. I love the SPEED (actually I can’t believe how fast it is!) I love the underlying sense of humor.



I can see this being a great tool for parents (itching to help with kids homework), I can see students & professors loving this tool.

What I find puzzling?

The name – okay sure I know it’s from the mind of Dr Wolfram – … but seriously … have you tried saying the name? I was talking about WolframAlpha in a presentation the other day and it’s a tounge twitser.

The other thing I find weird – results (all results) are served as images – yeap, images.

Not really sure why they might do that – it’s going to cost more in bandwidth, CSS could make the text just as nice & you wouldn’t need the “click to copy” system they have in place now. Sure some stuff just HAS to be images … but  …. Maybe it’s to stop screen scrapers .. ?

The end

I’m not 100% sure I see it revolutionizing the internet – but … WolframAlpha is the first (and probably one of the best), new solutions for mining data on the internet.

To wrap it up, here are some fun things to try on WolframAlpha:

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