"Today's WolframAlpha is the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone ..."
Wolfram Alpha is not just another search engine like Google or the new Microsoft "Kumo" soon to be released. It is not Wikipedia or Google Knol. It is not Excel or any other spreadsheet. It combines aspects of all these useful tools into a grand extension of Wolfram's Mathematica. (Wolfram Alpha was released for free public use last week and I put the link on this Blog then,. It has taken a few days for it to stabilize and become reliable, so that is why I delayed this posting.)
See the Visual Gallery of Examples for how Wolfram Alpha works with Mathematics, Dates&Times, Statistics, Places&Geography, Physics, SocionomicData, Chemistry, Weather, ... and much much more!
So far I have used it a bit. Try the Wolfram Alpha window just below the News Map in the right-hand column of this Blog. You can type in a simple equation: 45.7 + 32 - 7.8 x 16 = and get the Result: -47.1. Or, try (distance earth to sun)/(distance earth to moon) = and get Result: 413.9. Or b c d e f# a = and get the musical notes and play the sound. Or, marion county fl income per capita and get Result: $17848 along with other data. Or ibm microsoft intel and get their current stock prices and other data including a comparative graph.
So far, I am a bit underwhelmed but I have confidence this will become a major Internet tool for all of us. Please share your experiences here by Commenting. advTHANKSance!
PS: As a result of Wolfram Alpha's release, my interest in Stephen Wolfram has been piqued. I studied quite a bit of his Cellular Automata (CA) work that I used as part of my PhD studies. I also knew he made his money with a program called Mathematica. His book A New Kind of Science, which seems to be trying to prove that the Universe is a gigantic CA, is now available free online and I am up to chapter 8. I am sympathetic to the basic idea because I am a Panthiest and believe (along with Spinoza and Einstein) that the Universe is absolutely deterministic and (perhaps not along with them) that is it both finite and discrete in space, time, matter, and energy.