Published Online: September 2, 2009

Click It: A Web Roundup


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The goal of Wolfram|Alpha is to be the first Web-based tool that can find answers to all systematic knowledge in the world. That’s a pretty ambitious goal, considering most search engines, like Google and Bing, sometimes struggle to adequately fulfill users’ keyword searches. For educators, this “computational knowledge engine” can find objective and fact-based answers for a variety of subject areas. Type in “Newton’s Law,” for example, and the formula for force is explained. Enter in an equation for a line, and the site plots the line on a graph. Ask “What is the GDP of the United States and Canada?” and a chart depicts a side-by-side comparison of the nations’ economic data.

The site uses a technology called natural-language processing, which allows data to be processed and analyzed through a variety of search terms. Currently, the knowledge engine contains more than 10 trillion pieces of data and more than 50,000 algorithms and models. Developers say they have short-term and long-term goals to add more content to the site. Wolfram|Alpha, launched in May 2009, gets its name from creator Stephen Wolfram. The British scientist has studied and worked extensively within the math, science, and technology fields.

—Tim Ebner

See Also
Read about other Go-To Sites for ed-tech leaders and educators.

Vol. 03, Issue 03

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