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Topic: Wolfram Alpha's response on "Who is Euler?"
Replies: 16   Last Post: Jun 2, 2009 5:40 PM

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Richard Fateman

Posts: 1,539
Registered: 12/7/04
Re: Wolfram Alpha's response on business model
Posted: May 21, 2009 10:11 AM
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Vladimir and others, can see Wolfram's own words re business model.

re Peter's view that saying Alpha is a failure is like saying computers
can't play chess (ever) in 1968.

My assumption is that Alpha will get better. How much better is
impossible to predict.

It is possible to assess the contrast between the claims of Wolfram
regarding Alpha today, and its performance today. On that basis it
seems that the claims are overblown.

Wolfram claims (see article above) that Alpha includes Wikipedia, the US
Census, and "about 9/10 of what you'd see on the main shelves of a
reference library."

Unfortunately, without a better simulation of a reference librarian, it
is hardly equivalent to 9/10 of a reference library. It is of course
possible to have much less information and do more calculation with it,
and Alpha seems to have that possibility since it has Mathematica
available, but as I've noted, the Google calculator could be extended.

"What are the ingredients in a graham cracker crust?"
"where does stephen wolfram live?"
"who died on april 15, 1865"
(Abraham Lincoln is the answer it did not find)
"how deep is the grand canyon"

none of these were answered, or even understood by Alpha

"how high is niagara falls?"
[gave the elevation of the city, not the waterfall]


"what is the height of the campanile in Berkeley, california?"

note that Google gives, for {berkeley campanile height} as the first hit:
Campanile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sather Tower, "The Campanile" and carillon of the University of
California, Berkeley, is 307 ft (93.6 m) tall and has 61 bells. ..."

Maybe we should wait for Wolfram Beta.


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