Saturday, June 6, 2009

WolframAlpha: Making The World's Knowledge Computable

Okay, so I have to tell you about another awesome website I recently discovered. It apparently has only been in existence for around a month, but it has already changed my life. Anyone who knows me well, knows of my love for Wikipedia. I've always thought of Wiki as the sum total of knowledge of the users of it. It's a great place to go for in depth information on any subject. Well, recently WolframAlpha came along to fulfill a different but similar niche. WolframAlpha is perfect for gathering any kind of numerical data or anything that needs to be computed.

I'd like to share some examples with you. The other day at work, we were discussing TVs. I won't get into the details of our discussion, but we wanted to know the dimensions of a TV given the length of the diagonal. My brother is thinking of buying a 32" TV so we needed to know how tall and wide that is exactly. Well, I started doing Trigonometry on the white board and my office mate, Tyler, thought I was quite insane. I needed to do an inverse tangent and I didn't have a scientific calculator, but lo and behold I had WolframAlpha!

But it's not just for things like that. Let's say you are on a diet and you want to know how many calories are in your apple and your orange. You can input 1 apple 1 orange into WolframAlpha and it will create a nutritional content label for the two foods. Did someone say awesome?

Or maybe you're curious about a random city. You could input Orem, and if you are living in Utah, it will detect that Orem, Utah is the closest Orem and it will give you facts about Orem, Utah. (I don't know if there are other Orems or not, but it works with other cities as well.)

One more example: You can put in any date and it will tell you if any celebrities were born that day, it will tell you how many days ago it was, how many weeks and so on. I entered my birthday, May 27, 1981 and found out that I am 10,237 days old. (I am totally old.)

For your convenience, I have created this handy WolframAlpha control that will allow you to type in your input and automatically query WolframAlpha. Give it a try, it's uber awesome.


  1. I love how much of a numbers nerd you are! I even found out that the piece of gum in my mouth has about 8 calories. You do find the coolest stuff don't you!

  2. I'm so happy someone created a website with you in mind. And I'm also happy that you linked "awesome website" to your blog. That made me so soo happy.

  3. NO comment on your love for Wikipedia statement.

  4. Just remember that wikipedia can make your face catch on fire and melt. But on the other hand if it wasn't for this website then I wouldn't now know that the population of Luxembourg is 466 557 people (2007 estimate). Thanks for keeping me informed.

  5. Just so you know, I am almost 9,000 days older than you (8,997 to be precise). I am so glad I have WolframAlpha to help me with that piece of information.

  6. WHAT A COOL WEBSITE! I am going to have to give myself a time limit for how long I can spend looking up random interesting stuff.


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