The Computational Knowledge Engine

by Caezar M

Wolfram|Alpha is an engine unlike any other on the market today. firstly it is NOT a search engine, but rather a “Computational Knowledge Engine.” so what is the difference? Search engines search a nearly infinite unmber of articles, documents, and news reports to return a finite  number of results that contain keywords that you entered. if you sak a search engine a question it will just return reports with relevant information. A Computational engine on the other hand will create forms of information that has not existed in the internet before the search has been initiated. using a finite amount of curated data that has been examined for accuracy, whose contents are heavily tagged Wolfram|Alpha has at its disposal thousands of algorithms that discipher natural language into its query language that then performs computations on its self contained databases to provide results. current queryable topics include, basic math, advanced math, finance, conversions, dates, weather, engineering and so many more topics.


I liked this article because it shows how we are using an existing concept and making it better. search engines enable us to find so much information. granted its ambiguous, and burried in other text and sometimes hard to find. this is why it is such a great idea, having factual, confirmed information readily avaliable, un-ambiguous and ready to be combined into something that actually makes sense on the first try. if i want to know how where the ISS (International Space Station) is currently is within a couple thousand miles, it can tell you. if i want to know “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” you better believe the answer is 42. and even if i want to know what Snooki’s real name is, well it can tell you that too, in unambiguous english, no rummaging through less than reputable websites. this is a great service and it will soon be comming to large businesses which will, i bealieve lead to better decision making as business officials find themselves more able to get the results THEY WANT, as opposed to the results they are given. to make it easier, reports are made instantly, on demand, and without the need of the board room, if the CEO wants “Sales of wind turbines in germany in 2010 and 2011” depending if the company actually does that kind of business he should get a chart computed for him instantly and within a few seconds, along with a couple tables of relevant data. i dont think that search engines are going anywhere but as the need for more accurate data grow you will definitely see the use of computational knowledge engines grow.

Peter Cohen. (2009, May 19). Wolfram Alpha Acts as a ‘computational Knowledge Engine’. PCWorld. Retrieved November 02, 2011, from