Monday, May 18, 2009

Wolfram Alpha Launch - It's Pretty Awesome!

Today is the official launch of the Wolfram Alpha. It's a search tool based entirely on Mathematica, the software developed by Stephen Wolfram and colleagues over the past 30 years.

"Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity."

In reality, this search tool aims to answer any systemic query or really any objective question, even if it hasn't been asked before. It does this with a large repertoire of algorithms and natural language tools as well as numerous modeling technologies.

This tool is incredibly powerful. And it's pretty well done. And remember, it's still in its infancy. I have high hopes for this... though I'm still puzzled as to who will be the main benefactors. It's not really a Google type search tool for the masses. It seems to be more of a research assistant. So surely it's going to benefit scientists, mathematicians, researchers, et al. You're not going to find hotels on Maui or airline flights. But you can find computations for complex math.

I just typed in derivative of 9345x^2 2x - and it returned the answer, along with graphs. Pretty f'in impressive.

Check it: "As of now, Wolfram|Alpha 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—Wolfram|Alpha's core code base now exceeds 5 million lines of symbolic Mathematica code. Running on supercomputer-class compute clusters, Wolfram|Alpha makes extensive use of the latest generation of web and parallel computing technologies, including webMathematica and gridMathematica.

Wolfram|Alpha's knowledge base and capabilities already span a great many domains, and its underlying framework has the power and flexibility to support ready extension to essentially any domain that is based on systematic knowledge."

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