This week we will be discussing wolframalpha.com.The next big thing in search... or so it seems.
Wolframalpha.com is a "computational knowledge engine", basically its an answer engine and not a search engine. What that means is instead of searching the way we do today by entering a query into google like "what is pi", this technology will allow you to ask "what is the 10,000th digit of pi", so the query is a computation as opposed to a lookup.
Whats behind wolframalpha.com is "trillions of pieces of curated data and millions of lines of algorithms."
This is from twine.com:
Wolfram Alpha is a system for computing the answers to questions. To accomplish this it uses built-in models of fields of knowledge, complete with data and algorithms, that represent real-world knowledge.
For example, it contains formal models of much of what we know about science -- massive amounts of data about various physical laws and properties, as well as data about the physical world.
Based on this you can ask it scientific questions and it can compute the answers for you. Even if it has not been programmed explicity to answer each question you might ask it.
But science is just one of the domains it knows about -- it also knows about technology, geography, weather, cooking, business, travel, people, music, and more.
It also has a natural language interface for asking it questions. This interface allows you to ask questions in plain language, or even in various forms of abbreviated notation, and then provides detailed answers.
The vision seems to be to create a system wich can do for formal knowledge (all the formally definable systems, heuristics, algorithms, rules, methods, theorems, and facts in the world) what search engines have done for informal knowledge (all the text and documents in various forms of media).