Wolfram Alpha: The Reference Librarian’s New Best Friend?
A new search engine designed by British Mathematician, physics and computer science genius Stephen Wolfram, plus a team of 250 other brainiacs is set to launch sometime in May.
Harvard Law School had a sneak preview last week and was AWED.
Wolfram Alpha is an extremely powerful calculator stuffed with facts about the world. Instead of trying to find a site where you might find the answer to a question such as “How do Iraqi oil exports compare to that of Kuwait?” or “What was the weather in Rancho Mirage when Gerald Ford died?” you just type in the question and Wolfram instantly computes the answer. Many of these questions can be answered using Google, but only by visiting several different Web sites, assessing the validity of sources, and making your own calculations. Wolfram Alpha simply gives you the answer. WOW.
Google apparently feels a little heat about this as shown by recently launching Google Public Data, a tool enabling users to visualize government figures on population and unemployment. Stay tuned for the big launch!!!!
Wolfram is the author of A New Kind of Science in which he attempts to explain the universe in a fundamental new way of modeling complex systems.