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Title and Synopsis
Try It!
Elementary School
Middle and High School
Linear Algebra
Differential Equations
Other Advanced Topics
It's Not (Only) About Math!
More Examples (and Data!)
Less Is More
So Is It Perfect Yet?
What About Google?
Possible Implications
A Threat?

[Note: This article appears best using the Firefox browser.]

To get the most out of this article we suggest that you click freely on any link you see here in the main body of the text. For instance to get to a sample page of Wolfram|Alpha, simply click on the hyperlink and the adjacent frame (below) will take you there. That is a good place to start!

To give a broad sense of its geography, Wolfram|Alpha provides a map summarizing some of its basics. The goal is a website where the user can ask for ("query") any quantifiable fact using ordinary English and receive a dynamically computed response.

Perhaps the most important thing to know about Wolfram|Alpha is that it is emphatically not a search engine; it does not search the Web for helpful sites, but rather it interprets the query and performs appropriate calculations. Hence it is perhaps natural that it defines itself as "a computational knowledge engine!"

Here are a few more particulars: The brainchild of Stephen Wolfram and his people, Wolfram|Alpha was launched in May 2009 (it can give you its age in months and days, and convert that into hours, seconds, weeks and years). Its source code, in Mathematica, runs at about five million lines. It uses a constantly growing internal knowledge base. Its mission statement is ambitious: 

"Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone...to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries."


[Note: Contents of frame come from wolframalpha.com and are not maintained by Loci]