Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha: Making the World's Knowledge Computable

Wolfram|Alpha came online at 7 pm CDT on Friday, May 15. I had first heard of Wolfram|Alpha from a NY Times clipping shared with me by a teacher at school this week. Until I actually "saw" it, I had no idea of the power of this new web resource, and the impact it can have for learners everywhere! Wolfram|Alpha was conceived by "Mathematica creator and scientist Stephen Wolfram as a way to bring computational exploration to the widest possible audience." From the website:

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.

Take a peak at the sample topics and examples of data you can retrieve at which include Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Astronomy, Weather, Socioeconomic Data, Health and Medicine, Food and Nutrition, Words and Linguistics, Places and Geography, Sports, Music, Money and more.

I would also highly encourage you to view Stephen Wolfram's 13-minute screencast "Introduction to Wolfram|Alpha" to experience the scope of information you can retrieve on the Wolfram|Alpha website or view this shorter version (Part 1) posted on YouTube:

And, for a bit of background .…
Stephen Wolfram introduced the Wolfram|Alpha project during a recent webcast from The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University:

Learn more about Stephen Wolfram from this 2003 University of California lecture, "A New Kind of Science" available on


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