US-based British inventor Dr Stephen Wolfram's dream project -- to find a new way of bringing expert knowledge to people everywhere -- is about to take off. This week, Wolfram Alpha, a revolutionary search engine goes live on the Internet -- and while it is not complete and far from perfect, any one can put it through its paces and see if one can 'seek and find'.
"While search engines like Google, by and large, find things that already exist on the Internet—Web sites, photos, videos, blogs—Wolfram|Alpha answers questions, often by doing complex, and new computations", says the New York Times.
Others call it a worthy challenger to Wikipedia and many text books and reference works.
We tried out Wolfram Alpha by punching in the word Bangalore: we got four parallel streams of information building up to reveal four boxes: with population, current time and date; current weather and approximate elevation plus a satellite image. Results are even more dramatic when one uses the tool to search on complex math or chemical formulae. Unlike Google, the tool does not assemble available information sources but uses its own considerable assets of knowledge -- 10 trillion plus pieces of data; 50,000 plus algorithms .. and at the core, Wolfram's Mathematica, 4 million lines of code sourcing all mathematical knowledge.
Check it out at http://www.wolframalpha.com/ -- and for a brief period we have in our Tech in Video corner, a video sourced from CNET that explains how Wolfram Alpha differs from most other Net search tools.
( May 18 2009)