Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wolfram Alpha - success or misfire ?

Wolfram Research has just launched its long awaited project: Wolfram Alfa.

My impression of it is however that of mixed feelings.I found some simple queries working well, but some other totally wrong - with no indication why.

I tried some chemistry on it (having PhD in theoretical chemistry I could:-) ).
Simple molecules expressed via simple query like C2H5OH are superb, including nice 3D models (try), but when you take something more complicated but perfectly well known (like La2(CO3)3) it shows something that has almost nothing of any knowledge of value.

Moreover, when I typed an absurd formula H9O – the answer was unnoticeably similar to some other perfectly sound molecules !!!

I tried some concepts form neuroscience – I always got simple: “WolframAlpha isn’t sure what to do with your input.”

And what bothers me the most: that mysterious source reference: “WolframAlpha curated Data 2009” – with no real explanation what it is, how it was build etc…

As for the only real value I got from WolframAlpha - it did some funny deciphering of my first name: Mirek. Try it – it’s fun and you will understand my "aka" signature below :-)

Well, that was a joke – there are some areas in which it operates well. Almost all math formulas I entered were produced superb, nice plots, formulas etc. So, as Wolfram Mathematica web extension it is perfect. I’m not sure about other fields.

Perhaphs it is as David Winberger wrote: “WA is like roomful of idiot savants

I hope it will improve. There is something in me, like a small voice, telling me: there is some huge value in Wolfram Alpha, though I still cannot see it clearly...

Mirek (aka 1K-1)


6 comments:

  1. Wolfram Alpha is a good news in the area of search engines. It has some advantages compared to the other search engines. Still, it is not the competition to Google or other search engines, since it uses totally different approach. It is more like dictionary or encyclopedia than search engine.

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  2. Well, maybe. We'll live up to see.

    Contrary to popular hype, I never expected it to be a new kind of Google !

    But what structs me still, is the unclear source of its data. We do not know how it has been created, who is behind.

    However, you are right - it's announcement was a kind of good new - I believe that in few years it will grow to something really good...

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  3. Wolfram Alpha is a good news in the area of search engines. It has some advantages compared to the other search engines. Still, it is not the competition to Google or other search engines, since it uses totally different approach. It is more like dictionary or encyclopedia than search engine.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I guess you spam my blog by sending the same comment again....

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  5. it does harm Wolfram Alpha ....

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  6. I like Wolfram Alpha. It offers a completely new way of searching for information.

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