Skip to content ↓

COVID-19

Learn more about how MIT Admissions is responding to COVID-19 in this blog post from our Dean and new dedicated FAQs.

MIT student blogger Snively '11

Wolfram Alpha Tonight! by Snively '11

I don’t know how familiar you are with “Wolfram,” but I’ll assume you aren’t familiar with it at all and enlighten you. Wolfram makes a software called “Mathematica” that is pretty much my savior. It’s the smartest software I’ve ever seen. What does it do? It does math. Easy math. Hard math. Black-magic math. It graphs, it makes music, it maps, it decrypts, it slices, it dices, and it’ll take your dog for a walk.

I wrote about it a while back on my personal blog so if you’re interested in more details about Mathematica, be sure to check it out.

Today though, Wolfram is debuting something else, something new. They’ve created a search engine called “Wolfram Alpha.” It’s not like Google in that it doesn’t search for websites, in fact it’s all a closed system, but what it does search for is information. Any information. It will tell you the GDP of any country you’d like, graph it against any country you’d like, or tell your the history of that country’s GDP. It can tell you about scales in music, it can teach you about genetics, it can give you material properties, and blah blah blah blah blah.

“But Google can do this too!”

No. Google can not do this. Wolfram Alpha is so much beyond Google in terms of comprehension. It interprets what you search for and gives you exactly what you want to a ridiculous degree of accuracy and depth. I can’t get into too much detail describing this now because I need to study for my final on Monday, but here’s the important stuff.

1) Watch this video NOW:

Click to watch video

2) Salivate

3) Be online tonight at 8 PM Eastern to watch the live webcast of Wolfram Alpha going live.

Be here tonight at 8 PM Eastern!

That’s all for now!

19 responses to “Wolfram Alpha Tonight!”

  1. Alberta'13 says:

    This is definitely breathtakingly awesome. I can’t imagine how powerful it is until I looked at the video. I was shocked, then terrified, then awed then agitated.

    Thank you for recommending such a brilliant tool. =D

  2. Mittens '12 says:

    Check again, the results are only breathtaking for a few very specific queries. I agree, it has lots of potential, but its still a while away from being functional.

    http://news.cnet.com/wolfram-alpha-shows-data-in-a-way-google-cant/

  3. MiT says:

    Wolfram Alpha is scarily accurate…and it goin to be fantastic!
    Had a look at the video and I was stumped

  4. Hassan '15 says:

    I’m waiting for it from a long time. I enter their site daily in May LOL. It’s seems to be a great deal especially that it’s for FREE

  5. lulu says:

    my free mathematica is expiring :((((((((

  6. Isaac '13 says:

    I was able to try Mathematica once for a few hours and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to try out Wolfram Alpha!

  7. Snively says:

    @Isaac
    You count now. Click

  8. Albert '13 says:

    Mathematica is useful, but Alpha won’t be as widely used because, although you mentioned that Google doesn’t search for information, first, nor does Alpha (it is all from an internal database rigorously checked by staff (so it will be much slower to update than, say, Wikipedia), and secondly, Google will search for information by the end of the month with Google Squared! It was just announced on Tuesday (although it was known of before then), and you can read more about it at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/more-search-options-and-other-updates.html (scroll down towards the end). Google is awesome!

  9. Albert '13 says:

    Whoops forgot a parenthesis there! That should be (it is all from an internal database rigorously checked by staff (so it will be much slower to update than, say, Wikipedia)), or rather, (it is all from an internal database rigorously checked by staff, so it will be much slower to update than, say, Wikipedia); a comma instead of the parentheses.

  10. Anonymous says:

    hmm…for a lot of the topics it doesn’t seem to give you much information you couldn’t quickly find on wikipedia, or through a basic google search. It still has some way to go before it can truly offer something over the natural human ability to locate information.

    Ideally you’d have something that understands information the way humans understand it. So you’d have a concept, connected to another concept through a particular relationship (eg: ‘overcoat’ connected to ‘winter’ by the relationship ‘wear, in’, and connected to “warm” by the relationship ‘wear, for’) so if you asked “are overcoats worn in winter to keep you warm?” the system would say “yes”. That would be crazy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I checked it out and it was cool!

  12. YayPhysics says:

    I remember hearing Wolfram talking about this last year over lunch, when he was on campus to give the physics dept. colloquium!

  13. NathanArce says:

    Interesting! I hope they work hard on making their system more comprehensive in the future ^_^ I already know they will, though raspberry

  14. Isaac '13 says:

    @Snively: Thanks! Having an @mit.edu address is pretty awesome!

    I thought Wolfram|Alpha was really impressive. I ran a query for “v lb x ft y in z year old male height percentile” (with my data in place of v/x/y/z and got back loads of height, weight, and BMI data and charts. It’s not going to replace Google for most of my searches, but if I need a specific piece of factual data rather than a general overview I’m definitely going to be using it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It’s horribly slow here :(

  16. Steve '11 says:

    That is, by far, the coolest thing I have seen in a long time!

  17. CiCi says:

    w-o-w, that had me totally spell bound for the past ten minutes. I’m totally bookmarking this right now!!

  18. Alexandra says:

    This is amazing! Today in my Calc AP class my teacher showed us it, and I was excited because I had just read about it on the computer not an hour before in study hall. It’s a prime example of technology useful to today’s hard-working student (though my teacher is afraid it will replace actually doing homework!)
    grin