Wolfram Alpha is an answer engine developed by Stephen Wolfram. It doesn’t simply returns a list of web pages related to the user’s query. Instead it computes the answers and display results in a computed mathematical way with relevant diagrams, graphs, and links to other related questions and sources. Clearly it doesn’t help the users by providing textual answers to their questions. It helps users to explore knowledge, data and relationships between things.
Wolfram Alpha is completely different from search engines. We can’t access Wolfram by natural queries. We should frame queries in a particular syntax. It answers factual questions directly regarding unit conversions, questions about the time, the weather, the stock market, geography, etc.
Since the search engine can’t think like a human, it just retrieves the data relevant to user queries from stored database. But Wolfram Alpha is good to provide answers for factual questions. It computes the data using built-in algorithms.
‘Mathematica’ is the back bone of Wolfram Alpha. Mathematica is a product of Wolfram which is a software program includes collections of data in a consistent framework for immediate computation. Some data such as share prices and weather are delivered in real-time.
Wolfram Alpha provides accurate data about weather, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Economics, Linguistics, Health and Medicine, Places, Geography, Dates and times, etc. Some of the major fields that wolfram Alpha used are given below.
Wolfram Alpha in Astronomy:
We can know about the deep sky objects such as galaxies and star clusters by wolfram alpha. We can compute the location of a planet on a specified date. We can do computations with properties of planets, moons, etc.
Wolfram Alpha in Chemistry:
In Wolfram Alpha we can retrieve data for a chemical element in a number of ways, such as by name, symbol, atomic number, or a specific class, such as radioactive elements. The periodic table and its elements can be viewed as the foundation for building our knowledge and understanding of chemistry.
Wolfram Alpha in Finance:
It can be used to calculate our retirement investments. We can find and analyze current data about a stock.
We can compare and get local sales tax information. We can do a mortgage computation and currency conversions.
Wolfram Alpha in Geopolitical:
It can answer your weather questions, by retrieving current conditions, forecasts, and historical data from weather stations located all over the world. We can know about any country or city in the world by just entering the name.
Wolfram Alpha in Mathematics:
It is used in calculus and solves problems such as expanding expressions, solving quadratic equations, and much more. It can compute a decimal approximation of a specified number of digits. It can convert a decimal number to another base.
Look at the difference between Bing Search Engine results and Wolfram Alpha’s results for the query “differentiate x^2sin^3 x “.
The Bing displays some generic results about trigonometric but wolfram Alpha provides graphs and solutions for the equation.
In the same way if we enter the name of a city or town as a query the Wolfram Alpha displays details like current population, location, weather,etc as results but the search engines cannot give such accurate computational results.
Actually Wolfram Alpha provides structured data. Google also avails the users to get structural data, so it launches experimental phase of ‘Google Squared’. Google Squared extracts data from Web pages and presents them in search results as squares in an online spreadsheet.
Drawbacks of Wolfram Alpha:
- It is not clear where the result provided by Wolfram is coming from or how accurate it is.
- Lack in design and user interface is the reason for unpopularity of Wolfram.
Bing – Wolfram Alpha:
Now a days we all aware of that bing is the growing competitor of Google and it also won an equal popularity as Google. Bing has stepped up their attack on Google’s dominance by presenting different types of information in different ways. Bing integrated with twitter to improve the real time search results. Recently Bing introduced Visual Search to refine user search queries through images .
Bing updates its features tremendously and trying to beat Google. Before a month there was an rumour illuminates that Bing is going to have a deal with wolfram Alpha. If it integrates with Bing then there may be a tremendous change in search results. What would you think if Bing has a deal with Wolfram Alpha?
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