I typically use Google for any data-gathering I need to do.
Recently, I tried out Wolfram Alpha ^{[1]}. This thing is pretty interesting.
But I couldn't think of any use besides figuring out what the weather was like on my date of birth.
Has anyone put this site to good use?
It does a lot of things!
I study electronic engineering and it is the coolest web tool :) Something like a web based mathematica
Few examples:
integral sin(x)*sin(x)
^{[1]}
inverse laplace transform 1/(s+3)
^{[2]}
plane for (1,1,1) (0,0,1) and (1,2,3)
^{[3]}
RLC circuit 1ohm, 3nH,1pF
^{[4]}
Or roughly analyzing my computer consume:
0.25 €/kwh * 650W * 1 month
^{[5]}
or you can ask it what will look like the
weather tomorrow
^{[6]} (it will guess your current location)
Or even funnier (maybe not so useful) things like:
google employees/apple employees
^{[7]}
or cheating at the hanging man game: O _ E _ F _ _ _ ^{[8]}
It's like having a "free" copy of Mathematica at hand, usable even on a netbook or on my N78 :) Don't know why you should use it but it works for me very well!
PS: You should really try to follow links to get the idea.
[1] http://www00.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=integral+sin%28x%29%2Asin%28x%29I use it for combining colors to get hexadecimal values when writing colors in css.
for example, I need dark red: red + #000000 ^{[1]}
[1] http://www08.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=red+%2B+%23000000I've found it good for "How long it takes?" type questions for example
[1] http://wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%281024%2A768%2A32%29+bytes+%2F+1+Mbps+in+minutesWolfram Alpha ^{[1]} itself changes the question to: What are you?
And changes it to: I am a computational knowledge engine.
[1] http://www72.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=What+is+Wolfram+Alpha+good+for%3FJoel says " Why Wolfram Alpha fails ^{[1]}" based on this Wolfram Alpha and hubristic user interfaces ^{[2]}
[1] http://joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/07/09.htmlto prove your geekness
I am joking :) I still have to find sometime to playing with it and searching good uses that could help me and my work
[1] http://www28.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=three+robots+lawsThis may not answer what it is "good for," but there are lots of easter eggs ^{[1]} to find.
[1] http://mashable.com/2009/05/17/wolfram-easter-eggs/Here's another good blog post ^{[1]} about the frustrations of using Wolfram|Alpha. Until they work out the user interface problems, W|A will remain a curiosity. Once they do, a user should be able to fulfill the promise of being able to synthesize new ideas by juxtaposing data in new ways.
In the mean time, I only play around with it. There's very little depth I can access without a tremendous amount of gyration.
Also, the number of errors people have found in the data and calculations is discouraging.
[1] http://bit-player.org/2009/the-oracle-of-wolframIt's great for putting calculations into context for every day use. For example try: 100GB / 400 (users) and you will receive the result not just in GB, but also MB, CDS, DVDS etc.
the best funny ones are :
super funny :)
I have not but I would think that it would be great for journalists, authors, documentarians or anyone else who needs to get statistical data. The fact that Wolfram Alpha tries to cite their sources is great for these folks. College students writing papers in lots of different fields I would think would use it as well.
Chemistry. If you want to see the chemical formula for methane, you can find the state of matter at different temperatures and pressures. I use it all the time for calculating values of hydrogen storage.
It's especially useful for using systems of metric and "U.S. Customary" in the same formula without having to worry about missing a conversion. But Google can do that for you...
The correct answer is: To answer every question your precocious 6- 11 year old has. When he asks what the largest moon in the solar system is. Or how many gallons of water are in the pacific ocean... Wolfram should have those answers.
While I realize that not all the databases that will be in Wolfram Alpha are in there now it will they will be.
Btw the ocean question takes two queries
pacific ocean area * pacific ocean average depth ^{[1]}
convert 1.605x10^8 mi3 to gallons ^{[2]}
[1] http://www08.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=pacific+ocean+area+%2A+pacific+ocean+average+depthMusical scales, for example:
[1] http://www43.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=c+ionianWolfram Alpha needs lots of organized data to be useful. This means that something like the internet is not what its meant to index.
I'm thinking about various companies that deal with lots of organized data and need a computational engine will find this useful.
I only use it for facts, plotting graphs (sin(x)
) and funny words! (cosy sins
- try it!)
I have used it a couple of times for unit conversion and timezone calculations, which was moderately useful... Its largely just a curiosity though.
I found it useful for comparisons. Such as: gdp vietnam, cambodia
, which produces a series of useful statistics, and even charts the raw results:
Sure, I could compile this data myself from State Department reports, and put that into Excel, and graph it, and save the result as an image for inclusion in my report... or, I could just put that into Alpha and get the results I need in 1 click.
Also useful for learning Mathematica itself.
For example you want to know how to integrate a function in Mathematica, then you enter
integrate x y dx
on Wolfram|Alpha and click on the result to see that the corresponding Mathematica plaintext input is
Integrate[x y, x]
Suppose you want to know how to graph a list of data points in Mathematica, you could enter
graph n^2 from 1 to 10
on Wolfram|Alpha and click on the 'Mathematica form' link (in the first box) to see that
Plot[n^2, {n, 1, 10}]
is the corresponding Mathematica form.
I wish other programming languages also have this feature.
I've found it useful for calorie counting and nutritional information, given base ingredients. While about half my queries end up with "Wolfram Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input", with a little bit of tweaking and understanding the parsing engine, I'm able to get accurate counts of the foods I'm about to put into my body. For example, French Toast ^{[1]}.
[1] http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=2+medium++slices+bread+%2B+2+eggs+%2B+2+tbsp+maple+syrup+%2B+1+tbsp+butter