AOTW: Wolfram Alpha’s Capabilities Will Blow Your Mind
There is really no words to describe Wolfram Alpha. In essence, it’s all everybody thought the internet would be capable of back when it was first invented. It can do many practical things, and many stupid but entertaining things. Just what people are looking for. The app started as a site/app called Mathematica, which specified on math problems only. But, over time the functionaries and abilities of this wonder app grew and grew, until it covered everything from stocks, to TV stations, to astronomy, to sports teams, to celebrities. It is very possibly one of the most useful sites on the web. Wether you know it or not, you could definitely get good use of Wolfram Alpha.
Wolfram is essentially a search engine. Well, a super boosted search engine of awesomeness. Of course, it doesn’t act as a literal search engine, since it can’t actually go on web pages, but it’s main function is as a type of search website. The whole app is based off of a search bar, in which you type in your inquiry. The ingenious algorithms of the program takes apart your writing in a way it can understand, and then inputs that to its database. For instance, if you write, “What’s the distance to Saturn?”, it will show you the interpreted input, which is:
So in this case, it worked just fine. It shows you that the distance is 10.8 astronomical units, 1.004 billion miles, and the orbit around the sun is about 29 of our years. Along with that info, it shows us some completely useless information, but only useless because it’s to technical and complex for me to understand. In every question you ask, Wolfram Alpha tells you the answer, in amazing detail.
Like, a super incredible amount of detail. As an example, if you write “Google like curve”, it will show you this:
Yes, you’re right. That’s a mathematical curve chart made to look like the Google logo. Ok, that’s cool. But that’s not all it does. It also gives you the exact mathematical equation used to get the curve. In the Google logo’s case, here is a small part of the equation:
I mean, holy cow! That’s actual math! And that’s only about a fifth of the whole equation. It can do this type of thing for most object, logo or person it has a picture of in it’s database. Not to mention it only took it about, maybe, 1 second. This only starts to demonstrate the immense power of this engine. There are a couple drawbacks.
When Stephen Wolfram, the creator of Wolfram Alpha, was creating his engine, he probably wasn’t focusing to much on user experience. I’m not saying the design of the site is bad. It’s fairly easy to navigate, especially on the web version. But, the search engine itself could use a little, well, Apple-ifying. Made simpler and easier to use. Meaning, you can’t always depend on the engine upstanding you when you write in regular english. A long sentence with lots of conjunction words like or other unnecessary words like “and”, “that” and “what’s” all just confuse the system. There is an incredible amount of things and computations this engine can do. It will really blow your mind. But, in the times when you do think it could be helpful in average life, there’s a good chance you don’t know how to communicate to the engine what you want it to do.
Overall, Wolfram Alpha is a outstanding website and app. Along with silly computations, as I mentioned before, the program can do many types of calculations that will help you in everyday life. No matter what your job is, there is probably a way Wolfram can help you. And if you doubt the gigantic amount of abilities Wolfram has, on the app there is an “Examples” bar, in which it has many different categories of professions, topics and more. In each category, many examples are listed of what Wolfram can do. You have to admit, the software is amazing. Wether or not it is useable on a daily basis, well, probably not, but it is helpful occasionally and is certainly fun to play around with.