First Look At Wolfram Alpha’s Impressive Knowledge Computation

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First Look At Wolfram Alpha’s Impressive  Knowledge Computation

How many football fields would fit between the Earth and the sun? What’s the likelihood of getting 2 heads in 10 coin flips? One search engine calculates all that on the fly and more.

Mathematician Stephen Wolfram’s much-hyped “computational knowledge engine” Wolfram Alpha just went public, and it’s got more than a few data nerds tickled absolutely pink (myself included). Walpha (as I affectionately call it) finds and visualizes real-world data points from natural language queries.

I’ve just spent the last couple of hours throwing every kind of data query I could think of at Walpha. Some of the results were incredibly useful, others baffling, and others just missing. Here are some of the fun facts I learned using Walpha’s calculations.

Walpha even makes CAPTCHAs and offers web site statistics given a URL.

Still, Walpha’s very, well, alpha, and at times tonight it buckled under the load of the launch rush–but not without a sense of humor. Here’s Walpha’s error page:

what the weather in New York was the day my parents got marriedkind of MPG the Prius getschicken or the eggif a tree falls in the woods…

Still, while Walpha’s everyday uses for Joe Normal Web Searcher won’t be obvious, this thing is a goldmine for researchers, students, journalists, and bloggers. If this is the alpha, I can’t wait for the beta.

Fun with Knowledge Computation at Wolfram|Alpha [Smarterware]

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