Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wolfram Alpha

Will somebody please explain what the big deal is about this thing? I tried looking up a couple things and don't really get the purpose of it aside from another means by which to order and structure information.

5 comments:

neoprophet said...

The only thing I had any fun doing with it was putting in absurd quantities of various foods- (i.e. 3 gallons of baked beans, 35 pounds of shrimp, 4 buckets of prune juice) and getting the nutrition facts for that amount.

What would be really neat would be if it had historical data for college graduates by field. At present it only appears to have the most recent year's statistics by university, which is too bad.

Ryan Fuller said...

I don't trust a glorified search engine to answer my questions for me outright. I'd rather see the results of a search so I can filter out the bullshit myself.

Milton Hayek said...

Near as I can tell it's perfect for telling you things like populations. It couldn't even tell me who the cinematographer on Citizen Kane was. It didn't even know what I was talking about.

Robert Miller said...

The excitement centers on its potential, not its current performance. It uses a different kind of search algorithm based on their flagship Mathematica product. As their catalogue of datasets expands, it should become more useful.

As I've said earlier, I feel that Google and Yahoo are rapidly losing their effectiveness as search engines. Their algorithms can't keep up with the massive volumes of crap, mostly advertising, which has invaded the www. Google is the premier search tool, but I think their expansion to other business lines is a concession to the growing futility of their original model.

Anonymous said...

From my understanding, it isn't really supposed to be a contender with "mainstream" search engines like Google, Yahoo and the like. This is just the story that the pea-brained media decided to map onto it. It's intended purpose is to be a niche math / science / research oriented search engine. This neatly explains the results offered for the food searches.