Internet Genius introduces people or things that I found on the internet that are simply amazing. It may involve something geeky or something nerdy. It may involve an awesome invention or a unique hobby. Whatever it is, it’s sure to captivate you (at least for a while).
This week’s internet genius is Wolfram|Alpha.
Do you remember what life was like before Google? It’s difficult to imagine having to find the answers to our questions without the use of a search engine. God forbid we should have to open an encyclopedia or dictionary. Those things are ancient, right?
What if I told you that standard search engines may soon become an obsolete medium of searching for answers? It’s hard to believe that search engines could be improved upon; Google’s success would suggest that they’ve created the best thing since sliced bread. Perhaps they have, but Wolfram has created the best thing since Google: Wolfram|Alpha.
What is Wolfram Alpha?
Wolfram|Alpha is a computational knowledge engine. “What the heck is that?” you ask. Simply put, Wolfram|Alpha is Google with a much bigger brain. Not so simply put:
“Wolfram|Alpha introduces a fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers—not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods.”
While Google searches the web for your search term and brings up the most popular results, Wolfram|Alpha dives into it’s database, interprets your search term, and outputs everything it knows about the given topic.
Wolfram|Alpha is the search engine of the future.
Why is it genius?
Let’s say you were curious about a math function like cosine. Type “cosine” into Wolfram|Alpha, and it will give graphs, functions, integrals, derivatives, and everything else you want to know about the cosine function. “Google can probably do that,” you say. You’re probably right, but Google isn’t a computational knowledge engine. Since Wolfram|Alpha can do calculations right on the spot, it can output the same information on any variation of any mathematical function. Feel free to squeal with delight, math nerds.
Wolfram|Alpha can do so much more than just math, though. It can tell you about geeks and nerds (though I disagree with its definitions), fictional characters, quotes, biology, chemistry, and much, much more.
As if to show off just how cool their invention is, Wolfram included a “random” button on Wolfram|Alpha. When pressed, the button generates a random search term that almost always outputs something that will fascinate you. Also, it’s a great way to show off the functionality of the engine.
Wolfram took something that was once revolutionary and improved upon it. That’s genius.
Don’t take my word for it. Try out some search terms of your own on Wolfram|Alpha. I’m sure you’ll be just as amazed as I am.
Do you think Wolfram|Alpha is genius?.