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Friday, October 28, 2011

Site of the Week: Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha Teaches You Math, One Step at a Time (Among Other Things)

You can think of Wolfram Alpha as a synthesis of Google, Wikipedia, a Calculator, and a Textbook, in that it provides you with answers and a step-by-step guide rather than leaving you to search for them. Wolfram Alpha, according to Wikipedia, is an answer-engine and online service that, rather than providing a list of web pages that might contain the answer (like Google), it actually answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data.

It Is Simple to Use:
All you have to do is enter the equation you want solved. For example, here is an Algebraic linear equation: x+y=10, x-y=4, which you enter in, then click Enter to see the answer and the steps involved in solving the problem (Click Link or see Picture below). That way, when you are having trouble figuring out the correct answer to a problem, or the steps necessary to solving it, you have this helpful online resource to go to for help.

Note: This shouldn't replace going to your professor, a tutor, or other peers for help, and it also shouldn't replace doing your own work. But it is a great tool to help move along your own self-directed learning. If you still have problems, go to your professor and he or she will be better able to assist you.

What Else Can It Do?
There are many other impressive things that Wolfram Alpha can do, including the following:

You can also check out this TED talk by the chief designer of Wolfram Alpha, Stephen Wolfram, in which discusses his quest to make all knowledge computational (Thanks to Adil for sharing this video with me!)