May 19, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha Launches
Umm Sayhun, Jordan

I'm absolutely blown away by yesterday's launch of Wolfram|Alpha.

Comparing it to Google Search isn't relevant, as Wolfram|Alpha is less about Web content and more about data mining authoritative resources.

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.

Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. 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.

Video: An Intro to Wolfram|Alpha by Stephen Wolfram

The site clearly excels when it comes to math and science topics, but has a tremendous amount of archived knowledge to pull from on myriad topics. For example, in the screenshots below I asked Wolfram|Alpha to compare the most recent tourism data on Peru, Egypt and Thailand against each other, and to tell me about major earthquakes in Jordan over the past decade.

Wolfram|Alpha: Country Tourism Query

Wolfram|Alpha: Earthquake Query

It would be just as easy to ask the site when the next total solar eclipse is going to occur in Cairo (in the event I one day wanted to take photos of the spectacle over the pyramids), or how long a passenger jet takes to fly from San Francisco to Tokyo.

I encourage you to just have quick peek at the examples page on Wolfram|Alpha to see some of the amazing data aggregation visuals the site is capable of.

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