Saturday, May 16, 2009


Kicking the tires at Wolfram Alpha

by Larry Geller

Just tried the new search engine, if one can call it that, Wolfram Alpha. I guess I just don’t know how to use it yet.

It’s good at recognizing some input and giving back key information. Examples:

Don Ho

See, it knew that was a name, and displayed some basic information related to a person, including a time line.


Don’t accidentally misspell “Oprah” as “Opra” though. Unlike Google, it doesn’t suggest “Did you mean Oprah?

Kim Il Sung

It also knows something about Sherlock Holmes and Barack Obama.

Right wing nuts still filing lawsuits seeking to prove Obama isn’t a natural born US citizen may be comforted by Wolfram Alpha’s verification that he was born in Hawaii. So give up, already, you guys.

It can’t seem to find a good Thai restaurant in Honolulu. Google is safe from this application.

So far,Wolfram Alpha has not impressed me, but then, it was just born. I’ll Google tomorrow to see what others think of it and how it is supposed to be used. It may be as cool as cuil, or maybe not. We’ll see.

Some more:

It seems to be self-aware:


If you ask it about “Google” you’ll find that it may be envious of Google’s financial performance. It knows where the White House is and draws a map, same for Rome. No map of Honolulu yet, but it differentiated between the city population and the county population.

It isn’t sure about the uncertainty principle.

It can tell you all kinds of things about the day you were born, like the phase of the moon, but it couldn’t tell me that about today.

Don’t miss Wolfram Tones while checking this stuff out. Compose your own music and download it. Tags: , ,


Speaking of Oprah, she was originally named after the Biblical character Orpah.

Poppa Zao, thank you for that. I didn't know.

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