Monday, August 31, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha - a search engine for facts and figures

Wolfram|Alpha's FAQ says it's not a search engine, but a "computational knowledge engine." What's important is what it can do. It provides fast answers to your facts and figures questions.

For an idea of what kinds of questions Wolfram|Alpha can answer, and an introduction to how to use it, check out this 13 minute video from its creator: Introduction to Wolfram|Alpha.

Wolfram Alpha is located at http://www.wolframalpha.com. When you get there, you will see a standard search box up at the top. For simple requests just type into the box and click the orange = button. For even greater precision, you can choose the subject area/kind of question from a list beneath the search box on the front page. Wolfram|Alpha does a decent job of handling natural language queries like "distance from sun to pluto" or "average blood pressure of a 50 year old woman." It will ask "Did you mean...," and you can click the wording that it offers.

To get started, why not try out some of the example searches here: http://www.wolframalpha.com/examples/.

____________________
Questions? Ask a Librarian

1 comment:

Allen said...

Its like very good. But google has whole the control on the market. Google has more then 67%.