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Wolfram Alpha: The Next Step in Search Technology

Posted by ebowen On May - 18 - 2009

This is an auspicious day in the history of stuff. More exactly, it’s a red letter day in the history of the internet and computer science…or something like that. What this thing does is take what you ask it and figure out how to answer your question rather than just give you articles that contain the words you put in. The Wolfram Alpha project goals are:

1. To make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone.
2. to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels
3. Be an an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.

You can ask it questions and it will return an amazing amount of knowledge that is heretofore unheard of in a search engine. For instance…I put in the term “MSFT and AOL”…that is all. WA interpreted that as me asking it to look up the stocks for the two companies and then compare them…but AOL is no longer AOL it’s TWX. The engine figured that out and gave me an awesome comparison of the performance of the 2 companies.  It’s got charts and graphs and tables of all the relevant information.

wolfram-alpha-search-2

Want a comparison between “caffeine vs. aspirin”?  No problem…

wolfram-alpha-search-1

We’re talking contextual answers to your searchs…not key words…this is the 21st damn century people!! and only 10 years into it.  Of course as the project grows so too will the capability…I’m really excited to see what they can do.

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