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.