back to article Wolfram Alpha to venture beyond boron nucleus

Stephen Wolfram, the physicist behind the new Wolfram Alpha search engine, says his team is working on cramming more knowledge in the new service across a broader range of topics. For those not following along, Wolfram Alpha is billed as a "computational knowledge engine" designed to process a technical questions such has how …


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  1. Peyton

    Oh, I think you should check again

    "Wolfram says his team..." If you search Wolfram Alpha on Wolfram Alpha, you will find there is only one "people involved' in this product - namely Stephen Wolfram. One man, no matter how (reportedly) mind-numbingly brilliant, does not constitute a team.

    I will admit though, I find the potential features outlined in the last paragraph interesting and compelling.

  2. Nate


    ..."everyone" calls W-A a "failure" I'm just wondering what that means? Are we talking about internet users as a whole? Don't forget, these are the same people who think icanhazcheezburger is worthy of a bookmark.

    Alpha shows a good bit of promise, but it's not totally there yet. Also, it's not FOR everyone. My impression, thus far, is that people seem to think Wolfram is touting it as a Google-buster. Which, uhm, has never been said. It's a source of data and statistical knowledge, not an Internet meme gathering service like G or Y!.

  3. J
    Paris Hilton


    "because of the rather narrow set of questions relating to math, science, and statistics the engine can handle"

    Well, hardly surprised, at least to me. After all, most of real life is not computable, I think. At least yet.

  4. John Savard Silver badge

    Beyond Boron?

    Element 105 is sometimes also referred to as Un-nil-pentium. So if they're going beyond Boron, Element 5, does that mean they're using non-x86-based servers?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Election Results

    On the weekend when Europe is about to generate lots of interesting election results, it strikes me that WA might be a useful tool for looking at trends across Europe. But being a US based company, they probably won't bother.

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  7. Olivier Abo

    mathematica for 3

    For me his site is like a "mathematica express", with an easy to use interface, and remote hosting.

    It would be nice if it was fed with more international data anyway..

  8. Jerome

    @ Nate

    Judging by how expertly you spell icanhazcheezburger, I can only assume you spend a fair amount of time there yourself. I've never heard of it myself, of course.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    You nay-sayers all mean

    I think you're all being a bit mean to this engine.

    The concept is potentially amazing.

    Sure its initial scope is narrow, but it has enormous potential to provide a massively useful tool in the future. Give it some time. It's not like they have hundreds of folks working on it.

  10. DZ-Jay

    Re: Erm...

    But icanhascheezburger *deserves* a bookmark!

    Oh, wait--


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tsk, it's "How is babBy formed?"

    kno ure meemz:

  12. Karl Lattimer


    "even the occasional internet meme ("How is baby formed?" A stork delivers them)."

    I think that particular meme may pre-date the internet...

    ?!?!?!? that was a wtf moment while reading.

  13. Austin Modine (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Tsk, it's "How is babBy formed?"

    Yeah, my editor actually "corrected" the spelling there. I'll change that right back.

  14. Steve


    My first thought was disappointing, but after I stopped expecting it to give me information and figured out that it deals solely with data, I now think WA is a fascinating, if very geeky, tool. I can't really think of any real-world use that I could put it to, but I guess it isn't aimed at people like me who don't use statistics and numerical data with any regularity.. As a concept it is impressive though.

    Some of the odd things you can get it to do (although why you'd need to is another thing..):

    Convert obscure units: "50mph as furlongs per fortnight"

    Basic maths with food: "cheeseburger + 5 sticks of celery + orange juice"

    Maths with dinosaurs too: "weight velociraptor * 100 / weight tyrannosaurus"

    See how much a film sequel was a flop: "box office total jaws, jaws 2"

    Genealogical relationships: "grandfather's grandmother's cousin's grandson's aunt"

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wolfram Alpha knoweth all

    What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

    Input interpretation:

    estimated average cruising airspeed of an unladen African swallow


    there is unfortunately insufficient data to estimate the velocity of an African swallow (even if you specified which of the 47 species of swallow found in Africa you meant)\n(asked of a general swallow (but not answered) in Monty Python\'s Holy Grail)

    No its not an aggregator of trivia, memes, Wikifiddles or blogs, but is as someone said a geek tool; useful for actual facts and will become more so as it grows.

    Saddly, your average interwebs Luser is interested in the former gibberish, so WAlpha's not for them.

  16. John


    What is the airspeed of a unladen African swallow

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