Have you tried WolframAlpha yet? No? You’re not alone but I’m guessing that will change in the near future. WorlframAlpha is a new type of online tool being developed by the Wolfram Research Company in Champaign, Illinois. It’s not a search engine but a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links. Sounds pretty nerdy, huh? But think of the implications. Here’s how Wolfram Research explains it:
Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim 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. Our goal is 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.
This is obviously something that will become more and more powerful as time goes by. Just think of the implications! Do yourself a favor and give it a try by entering your birth date, any two stocks, any calculation or any town name. It offers a peek into the future of network computing and just how powerful this stuff will eventually become. And we thought Robby The Robot was cool!