What is Wolfram Alpha?

This is an engine of knowledge, completely different from a search engine, able to interpret the keywords inserted and provide the user concerned with a response, rather than a series of hypertext links aimed at deepening the subject through multiple sources. Wolfram Alpha, or Wolfram | Alpha, relies on the Mathematica software, developed by its own creator, Stephen Wolfram, who plays the role of symbolic and numerical computing platform as well as an interpreted programming language.

How does Wolfram Alpha work?

Wolfram defines this program as a “computational engine of knowledge“: its main fields of interest are intertwined in a series of purely technical knowledge, mainly concerning scientific topics.

By asking a question to this “engine of knowledge” we obtain only an answer, or, in a more complex way, the process by which we have arrived at that answer.
The definition of “anti-Google” given at first, is therefore quite wrong, as Wolfram Alpha works in a completely different way.

Among the main scientific topics that deals with Wolfram Alpha, include the following:

  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  •  Biology
  • Meteorology
  • Engineering
  • Astronomy
  • Earth Sciences
  • Geography
  • History
  • Art and culture
  • Linguistics
  • Sports
  • Finance
  • Socio-economic data

Some examples

The diversity from Google is without a doubt the main strength of Wolfram Alpha. If a user searches for a response on Google, he will have to make at least 2 steps: the query and the consultation of one of the sources provided by the search engine, provided that the latter give the desired answer, otherwise the steps will be increased.

On Wolfram Alpha there is no possibility of making a mistake: more correctly, it will be necessary to ask the right question instead of looking for the right answer, because the latter figure will happen immediately in the first step.
Let’s take a few examples

Let’s go to Wolfram Alpha and type the query: x + y + z = 1 .
The engine will reply in detail with the following information:

Geometric figures: Plane;

Visual representation :

wolframalpha1-152c5

Alternate forms : x + y + z-1 = 0 / z = -x-y + 1;

Solution for the variable z : z = -x-y + 1.

As we can see, in addition to the answer we are looking for, there is also a series of information (possibly expandable) that enriches the overall dynamic.

Let’s ask another question, for example: « Earthquake India ». We will be able to discover the most recent earthquakes of some importance in our country during a certain period. Added to this is the possibility of choosing the temporal distance that Wolfram Alpha must keep in mind to optimize the search, or the type of magnitude, just to cite just a few examples.

Continuing with a final illustration, if we go in the section Weather (Weather), we also find out what the weather made in Rome on 24 January 1976, or rather, temperature, humidity and wind speed, in addition to the day of the week and of course atmospheric conditions (for example, if you really want to know, that evening in the capital rained from 8pm to 11pm).

Wolfram Alpha: OS and social

Wolfram Alpha is also available on the Galaxy Note 10.1 (try to write a mathematical formula with your S-Pen and Wolfram Alpha will give you the answer you are looking for), but it is also included in the main Android and iOS applications.

Recently Wolfram Alpha has also optimized the social function, called “my Facebook“: thanks to this tool, in fact, it will be possible to evaluate an interesting statistical analysis of our social activity, which among our friends has commented more, what was the more shared files and much more.