09 June 2009

WolframAlpha and Bing

Two new search engines have hit the news lately.

The first of these is Bing, which has been developed by Microsoft as a Google competitor. Only time and internet users will tell whether it can compete or not.

Perhaps more exciting - mainly because of it's potential - is WolframAlpha. WolframAlpha uses mathematics rather than semantics to answer factual queries. It is described as:

The first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. Enter your question or calculation, and WolframAlpha uses its built-in algorithms and a growing collection of data to compute the answer.

Try entering the word "Canberra" and the results will tell you our city's location as the Australian Capital Territory (also displayed on a map), population, current weather, elevation above sea level, as well as listing Sydney as the nearby larger city.

Find out more about this "computational knowledge engine" at the Wolfram Research web site.