Sunday, June 10, 2012

All you questions answered

Have you ever wanted a system that answers almost your every factual question at home and on the go. For example:-

  • What day is the day after tomorrow
  • What is DCXCV – 25
  • What is the cheapest toaster
  • What is brown minus red
  • Who stared in Desperate Housewives season 1

Wolfram Alpha is an online system that answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data, rather than redirecting users to reference material potentially containing solutions. So unlike Google, this system looks within. It does this by considering a great deal of information ranging from every weather data point ever collected to the chemical structure of nearly every compound to the names of the notes in a D minor chord, and just about anything else that matters - colours, sports games, shopping, language, etc etc etc. It's not so much a search engine as it is a "knowledge engine."

You submit questions and computation requests via a text field and the system computes answers and relevant visualizations from a knowledge base of curated, structured data. Alpha thus differs from semantic search engines, which index a large number of answers and then try to match the question to one.

Wolfram Alpha is built on Wolfram's earlier flagship product, Mathematica, which encompasses computer algebra, symbolic and numerical computation, visualization, and statistics capabilities. The answer usually presents a human-readable solution. Wolfram Alpha is based on the computational platform Mathematica, written by British scientist Stephen Wolfram in 1988.

This thing is so versatile that Apple even integrated some of Wolfram Alpha's basic functionality with Siri to give factual answers to the user's questions. Guys, give this a go.
An iPhone app is also available.

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