Wolfram Alpha, The Online Answer Engine?

March 11th, 2009 at 12:00 am

 Wolfram Alpha

A new online search model called the Wolfram Alpha is set to debut on May of 2009 as what its website says. Its developer or developers calls it a "computational knowledge engine". A pretty heavy as well as a relatively new term for an online search engine. Actually, it might be more than just that, if what is said about it is true.

Wolfram Alpha was developed by Stephen Wolfram and his team out to have a different take on how web searches are made. But instead of just the usual online search engine, it functions on a totally different level. It can provide users with the actual answers. Yes, Wolfram Alpha is touted to be able to answer questions that is being put into it by users instead of just providing the data results where users still have to find for one.

This new type of search engine actually computes for the answers to questions. An online search engine like Google may provide only its users with data results that "might" contain the answer. It is not like Wikipedia either that is a huge online repository of knowledge. Wolfram Alpha makes use of data and algorithms in order to compute and come out with factual answers to questions. Consider is as a smarter online search engine if you will.

Another feature that the Wolfram Alpha may have different from the more popular search engine is that it uses a natural language interface. This means that the interface allows users to input questions in plain language instead of just mere keywords as what most search engines typically require. It even accepts certain abbreviations and may be able to give out detailed answers to them. Not only that, this engine also allows users to explore knowledge and data and the relationships between them concerning the question or query on hand. Not only does it provide the answers to questions, it might also aid users to explore new ideas and even create new ones too.

You might say that Wolfram Alpha may be quite a complex engine to develop considering that it computes its way to provide the answers rather than just data to different queries. It indeed is. And it is not just something that appeared out of nowhere. It actually was being developed in utter silence until the recent announcement from the Wolfram blog. And by then, development has already involved the use of several terabytes of raw data, statistics, algorithms and expertise that will run this computational knowledge engine.

For all its complexities, it still has to undergo its first test with the online public. Everything still depends on how the online public will embrace it come May, 2009. How effective it will be in trying to satisfy the online public with its supposed computational capabilities is important to how it will take hold of its spot in the world of online search for information.