Monday, November 28th, 2011...7:16 am

Wolfram Alpha: POWER SEARCHING

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If you wanted an answer to a question the old model was: look it up in a book.

The newer model says: Google it.

An even newer model directs you to Wolfram Alpha, a computational knowledge engine.

What is the difference? A search engine such as Google or Bing scans web pages and returns links to those pages matching the search query. Wolfram Alpha returns answers from its “own internal knowledge base.” Which is great if, say, you want to know the route an airplane would travel between Chicago and Tokyo rather that what the airfare is between Chicago and Tokyo. If you are looking for facts, for example, the five largest countries in area or the population of Mauritania try WolframAlpha—in fact, in a recent comparison test I was directed by Google to WolframAlpha for those same questions.

For more information try this demo of answers given by WolframAlpha. And if some of those answers seem familiar you must be iPhone 4S user. Your digital assistant, Siri, got some of her information from WolframAlpha.

Mobile Wolfram Alpha image from Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5507200/wolfram-alpha-launches-mobile-site-slashes-iphone-app-to-2

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