Friday, May 22, 2009
Rick Friedman for The New York TimesMr. Wolfram’s service does not search through Web pages, and it will not help with movie times or camera shopping. Instead it computes the answers to queries using enormous collections of data the company has amassed. It can quickly spit out facts like the average body mass index of a 40-year-old male, whether the Eiffel Tower is taller than Seattle’s Space Needle, and whether it is high tide in Miami right now. WolframAlpha, which is expected to be available to the public at wolframalpha.com in the next week, is not a finished product. It is an early working version of a project that has been years in the making and will continue to evolve over years, if not decades. As such, there is much it cannot answer now.