This project (2018-1-SE01-KA201-039098) has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Wolfram Alpha
Online service that answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from externally sourced
Wolfram Research
May 2009
Web Site/Portal, Mobile Apps, Downloadable material
Math, Chemistry, Natural Science, Biology, Physics
17+ years old
Wolfram Alpha provides a field where users submit queries and computation requests. The web site or app computes answers and relevant visualizations from a knowledge base of curated, structured data that come from other sites and books. The tool use a portfolio of automated and manual methods, including statistics, visualization, source cross-checking, and expert review. The curated data makes this tool different from semantic search engines, which index a large number of answers and then try to match the question to one.
Wolfram Alpha provide robust query results based on computational facts. It is able to respond to particularly phrased natural language fact-based questions such as "Where was Mary Robinson born?" or more complex questions such as "How old was Queen Elizabeth II in 1974?", but it does not answer queries which require a narrative response such as "What is the difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendars?" but will answer factual or computational questions such as "June 1 in Julian calendar".
In this tool Mathematical symbolism can be parsed by the engine, which typically responds with more than the numerical results. For example, "lim(x->0) (sin x)/x" yields the correct limiting value of 1, as well as a plot, up to 235 terms (as of 2013) of the Taylor series, and (for registered users) a possible derivation using L'Hôpital's rule. It is also able to perform calculations on data using more than one source, for example "What is the fifty-second smallest country by GDP per capita?" yields Syria, $2033 per year (as of 2019).
The database of Wolfram Alpha included thousands of curated datasets, accumulated over several years. The curated (as distinct from auto-generated) datasets are checked for quality either by a scientist or other expert in a relevant field, or someone acting in a clerical capacity who simply verifies that the datasets are "acceptable".
Wolfram Alpha is a very very big store in Science, that works by using its expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis and generate reports. They declare that "it is a unique engine for computing answers and providing knowledge".
This tool could be appreciated by teachers and could be a very learning site for students because its engine uses a linguistic analysis, with new kinds of algorithms for 1,000+ domains, with more than 10 trillion pieces of curated data from primary sources with continuous updating, then a dynamic computation uses plus then 50,000 types of algorithms and equations to provide a computed presentation of more than 5,000 types of visual and tabular output.
The most interesting feature of WolframAlpha is that of making available to anyone who can connect to the Internet quickly enough some powerful resources without having to install this application on their system and therefore without having to buy it and update it to the frequent new releases of the itself. It can therefore be very useful in mathematical research of personal or academic interest. Unfortunately, free access to the page is tormented by the overlapping of advertising banners to avoid which you should subscribe to the Pro version.
The free version is very complete. The Pro version also offers to the users additional features.
The topics of Wolfram Alpha are: Mathematics, Step-by-Step Solutions, Words & Linguistics, Units & Measures, Statistics & Data Analysis, People & History, Dates & Times, Chemistry, Culture & Media, Money & Finance, Physics, Art & Design, Socioeconomic Data, Astronomy, Music, Health & Medicine, Engineering, Places & Geography, Food & Nutrition, Education, Materials, Earth Sciences, Shopping, Organizations, Life Sciences, Weather & Meteorology, Technological World, Sports & Games, Computational Sciences, Transportation, Web & Computer Systems, Surprises.
These topics do not cover all the known but can be an important resource for research and insights even for the youngest students, under the guidance of the teacher.