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17 May 2009

Wolfram Alpha is live; give us your impressions

16 05 2009 - Δεν με εντυπωσίασε …

Wolfram Alpha is online for testing throughout the weekend, in anticipation of the online knowledge base officially going live on Monday. Although the launch team warned in the Wolfram Alpha Blog that the site may go down periodically throughout the weekend, anyone has a chance to check out how well it answers fact-based questions from its database of information organized by Wolfram Alpha staff.

How well does it work? Well, it was able to find quickly how many calories are in a serving of cocoa puffs, what day of the week I was born on, and PC World's circulation. Entering "Star Trek" automatically pulled up the J.J. Abrams film and told me it was released 0.022 years ago.

Besides providing information on search terms, Wolfram does a great job at conversions and answering equations. I was able to convert the value of my pocket change from dollars to yen and figured out what a 20 percent tip would be for a $25.86 meal and how to break that tip up into currency.

At the bottom of the page you can take a look at the sources Wolfram has drawn from to answer questions about your topic, or save your results as a PDF. The PDF is basically a reproduction of the Web site; it would be nice if it was reworked in the future to be more printer-friendly.

I was quickly impressed with the site's capability to return relevant information about my search terms just as fast as Google would refer me to a list of indexed sites. I couldn't help but try to push Wolfram to its limits.

Source: PCWorld



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