Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha - A Computational Knowledge Engine

This is a MUST SEE!

Is WolframAlpha a search engine? No. It's a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links. YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO THAT DEMO'S IT'S CAPABILITIES.

WolframAlpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. Their goal is to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. They want to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries. They want to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels.

As of now, WolframAlpha contains 10+ trillion of pieces of data, 50,000+ types of algorithms and models, and linguistic capabilities for 1000+ domains. Built with Mathematica—which is itself the result of more than 20 years of development at Wolfram Research—WolframAlpha's core code base now exceeds 5 million lines of symbolic Mathematica code. Running on supercomputer-class compute clusters, WolframAlpha makes extensive use of the latest generation of web and parallel computing technologies, including webMathematica and gridMathematica. WolframAlpha's knowledge base and capabilities already span a great many domains.

Basically, Wolfram/Alpha's goal is to bring expert-level knowledge to everyone and I also like the fact that it's FREE and you know how much I like that word! (Free for personal noncommercial use as described in its Terms of Use. Subscriptions will be available in the near future with enhanced features for large-scale and commercial use.)

As I have additional time to explore Wolfram/Alpha's capabilities, it may become one of my favorite research tools!

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