Reactive Software Holds Search Promise

A new generation of software that will understand questions and give specific, tailored answers was recently showcased at Harvard University.

The new system, Wolfram Alpha, takes the first step toward providing Internet users with a global store of information that understands and responds to ordinary language in the same way a person does.

Computer experts hail Wolfram Alpha as being a possible “emerging artificial intelligence” and “a step toward a self-organizing Internet.” The software will not only give a straight answer to questions, but it will also produce a neat page of related information, including graphs, charts and even maps.

It was invented by Dr. Stephen Wolfram, an award-winning British physicist who is based in America. He says that information is “curated” (assessed first by experts), eliminating the drawbacks of sites such as Wikipedia. It is based on his best-selling Mathematica software, a standard tool for scientists, engineers and academics for crunching complex maths.

The engine, which will be free to use, works by drawing on the knowledge on the Internet, as well as private databases.

A new generation of software that will understand questions and give specific, tailored answers was recently showcased at Harvard University.

The new system, Wolfram Alpha, takes the first step toward providing Internet users with a global store of information that understands and responds to ordinary language in the same way a person does.

Computer experts hail Wolfram Alpha as being a possible “emerging artificial intelligence” and “a step toward a self-organizing Internet.” The software will not only give a straight answer to questions, but it will also produce a neat page of related information, including graphs, charts and even maps.

It was invented by Dr. Stephen Wolfram, an award-winning British physicist who is based in America. He says that information is “curated” (assessed first by experts), eliminating the drawbacks of sites such as Wikipedia. It is based on his best-selling Mathematica software, a standard tool for scientists, engineers and academics for crunching complex maths.

The engine, which will be free to use, works by drawing on the knowledge on the Internet, as well as private databases.

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