Wolfram|Alpha is described as a Computational Knowledge Engine, the students that we worked with could only say, “WOW!” This app is truly amazing. The speed – incredible, the problem solving – mind-boggling, the content – vast, and the concept – exceptional. Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. It works by using its vast store of expert-level knowledge to compute answers to questions you ask. This app is revolutionary and its uses are virtually everywhere: work, home, school, travel, play, wherever/whenever you need it. We recommend watching the video first to get a better understanding exactly what this app is capable of.
When we handed iPads, with Wolfram|Alpha loaded on them, to several high school students they timidly typed in their first question or topic. Being so open-ended, allowing them to think of their own question or topic, it took a few moments. Then, bingo – the question was typed and in a nano-second, the information or answer was there. With Wolfram|Alpha this type of inquiry gets clear cut information and answers immediately, unlike the 624,000 bazillion hits about the topics that appear in the usual search engine… that may or may not relate, but what people have written and tagged. These kids looked up trigonometry problems, black holes, the Mets, Big Mac, the price of sugar cane in the Bahamas, the first motion picture, and yes, sex. Each entry immediately brought up factual and detailed information for each topic. If you were wondering, the first motion picture was in in 1888 in the UK and below you can see every possible way of writing the trigonometric function, sin 75.
The OMG! moment came when they realized what an incredible homework helper this app could be. From there they discussed and described how cool this app would be when doing a project or research paper.
Stephen Wolfram, the founder of Wolfram|Alpha LLC, said on TED that he wanted to talk about an idea that would eventually be the single biggest idea of the past century. Computation. Computing a theory of everything. He talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational — able to be searched, processed and manipulated.
With this app, he and his team are well on their way. By the way, Wolfram|Alpha is available on your desktop, sweet!