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WolframAlpha is the World's Greatest Calculator

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments

I wish I had this to do my homework for me. Well, back when I had homework.

In the internet world, search engines have gone in the opposite direction of most technologies. While users these days have more choice than ever for where they get their information, there seems to be one search engine that reigns over everything – and that’s Google.

So what could anyone be thinking when trying to launch a brand new ‘search’ engine? To answer that, you have to check out WolframAlpha, which just launched over the weekend.

It’s not so much a search engine as much as it’s just the world’s most amazing calculator. Forget your flashy scientific calculators, WolframAlpha can compute 2 + 2 as easily as it compare chart the GDP of Spain and Italy – or it can tell you when the next solar eclipse will be, or instantly calculate the probability of a getting a full house in poker.

While Google may send you to webpages that contain information that you’re looking for, WolframAlpha gives it to you straight without having to leave the site. It’s incredibly powerful and impressive, but is limited in presenting information only to queries that it understands – and right now it’s still a little restricted.

Check it out for yourself right here (be sure to watch the guided demo). Man, I wish I had something like this to help me with my homework when I was in school.

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  • 1 Hide
    jsloan , May 18, 2009 11:23 PM
    sweet
  • 0 Hide
    jgoette , May 18, 2009 11:45 PM
    "So what’s could anyone be thinking when trying to launch a brand new ‘search’ engine?"

    Another stupid slip.
  • 0 Hide
    brother shrike , May 19, 2009 12:18 AM
    It has the answer for: "tairspeed velocity of an unladen swallow."

    It also does: "the meaning of life, the universe, and everything." But then, so does google.
  • 0 Hide
    coolgod , May 19, 2009 12:53 AM
    it can help me find patterns in a sequence.
    :)  super sweet.
    a combo between wiki/google :) 
  • 7 Hide
    Tindytim , May 19, 2009 12:54 AM
    ...Holy F***ing ****. I'm going to win a lot of internet arguments because of this.
  • 0 Hide
    Greatwalrus , May 19, 2009 4:12 AM
    It's so advanced, I don't even know where to begin on using it! I mean, it kind of scares me lol.

    But I probably will reference this to check some of my answers to Calculus problems.
  • 3 Hide
    curnel_D , May 19, 2009 4:31 AM
    jgoette"So what’s could anyone be thinking when trying to launch a brand new ‘search’ engine?"Another stupid slip.

    Keep up the good work! (I'm not kidding)

    I totally got tired of trying to get these guys to proof read their work, so I just ignore it now. At least someone picked up where I left off.
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , May 19, 2009 4:33 AM
    That's actually a pretty awesome site. PDFs export in nice vector quality too. They didn't skimp on the quality. I had a problem downloading my first PDF but I guess it was a fluke for that specific one. For now, my only complaint is that I can't control the axis sizes for graphing. There's probably a way and I just can't figure it out. They should implement an easy way to do it though.
  • 0 Hide
    ColMirage , May 19, 2009 6:43 AM
    Awesome! This is going to be incredibly useful.
  • 0 Hide
    Rancifer7 , May 19, 2009 1:04 PM
    This is amazing!

    Looking forward to all those internet science classes now!
  • 1 Hide
    thumbless , May 19, 2009 1:34 PM
    Anyone thought of asking what the velocity is of an unladen swallow?

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=velocity+swallow
  • 0 Hide
    KyleSTL , May 19, 2009 2:06 PM
    Mathematica FTW! I loved that program in college, especially the pirated version on my computers so I didn't have to spend 4 years in the computer labs.
  • 1 Hide
    cyberkuberiah , May 19, 2009 2:16 PM
    i remember back in college i visited wolfram research on the web for number theory lessons for my cryptography course . there was a feeling of quality to it . i even got introduced to mersenne primes on their website , and how there was a prize for it and all that .

    now i have this feeling that their "computational knowledge engine is a quality product indeed" .

    technically it is about the "semantic web " which can help you rather than the myriad websites on the internet .and it is better than wikipedia in some respects .

    hats off to wolfram research !
  • 0 Hide
    B-Unit , May 19, 2009 4:36 PM
    Brother ShrikeIt has the answer for: "tairspeed velocity of an unladen swallow."It also does: "the meaning of life, the universe, and everything." But then, so does google.

    LIAR!!! 'there is unfortunately insufficient data to estimate the velocity of an African swallow (even if you specified which of the 47 species of swallow found in Africa you meant)' is NOT an answer, its a cop out.
  • -1 Hide
    hellwig , May 19, 2009 7:23 PM
    Look at the resulting Volume Equations from this query:
    http://www40.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=equation+Surface+area+of+sphere

    They are drawn incorrectly. It's 4/3 * pi * r^3. They have it as (4 * pi * r^3)/3. How do we get this fixed?
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , May 19, 2009 7:53 PM
    Nice!!
  • 0 Hide
    KyleSTL , May 19, 2009 8:42 PM
    LOL @ hellwig, observational humor is the best kind.
  • 1 Hide
    Tindytim , May 19, 2009 11:30 PM
    hellwigIt's 4/3 * pi * r^3. They have it as (4 * pi * r^3)/3. How do we get this fixed?

    Please tell me your kidding. If not, go back to elementary school and review your algebra.
  • 0 Hide
    mrgrey , May 20, 2009 2:15 PM
    Nah, it can't sum two chaotic scatters in serious. Send it back to the AI workshop!
  • 0 Hide
    mrgrey , May 20, 2009 2:17 PM
    Argh, I'm tired, that was supposed to be "two chaotic scatterers in series." That's what happens when you get 4 hours sleep 3 nights in a row.
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