Perform searches of computational knowledge
BY JASON DON FORSYTHE
WolframAlpha is an ambitious knowledge repository that functions similar to a web browser. It’s important to note the difference between a knowledge repository and a search engine — this isn’t a competitor to Google. In fact, it functions as a much different application. The concept is to show useful, relevant information based on your query, not give you a list of links to click on and find the information yourself. For example, if you enter a famous person it gives you a basic breakdown biography, more of a when, where, what response that would put important dates at your fingertips.
But where WolframAlpha truly shines is in the mathematics and science area. Enter any equation — and I mean ANY equation — and it will give you more information that you probably could use. Wolfram Alpha will solve it, graph it, give permutations and extract any useful information that you could use. If this had been around when I was taking calculus, let’s just say my grades would have been much better.
It’s scientific use is equally impressive. Enter any element or compound and WolframAlpha will give you it’s molecular structure, atomic weights, solubility tables, melting points, and tons of extra information. For anyone studying chemistry who needs a quick reference tool, this application is a gift from above.
WolframAlpha is still evolving every day, currently holding 10+ trillion (!) pieces of data. It’s a great resource to pass on to students who are just starting to deal with complex math or scientific topics. WolframAlpha will evolve along with your student’s understanding of those topics.