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Topic: Wolfram Alpha
Replies: 0

 Jonathan Groves Posts: 2,068 From: Kaplan University, Argosy University, Florida Institute of Technology Registered: 8/18/05
Wolfram Alpha
Posted: Mar 13, 2010 4:54 AM

Dear All,

I'm surprised to see that no one here on math.teaching.technology
has mentioned Wolfram Alpha. The homepage of Wolfram Alpha is
located at

http://www.wolframalpha.com/.

It is clear that Wolfram Alpha will help revolutionize the teaching
of mathematics because of its impressive power and its ability to
show the steps to solve mathematics problems. For example,
you can get Wolfram Alpha to show the steps of solving the equation
2x^2+4x-5 = 12 by completing the square. I'm not sure how to get
it to show the steps for solving this by the quadratic formula.

I may write more comments later about Wolfram Alpha but at least
wanted to get this posted to try to begin a discussion about it.

I was reminded of Wolfram Alpha recently when I had used to it to
compute the values of the prime counting function pi(x) and Gauss'
logarithmic integral function Li(x) for selected large values of
integers x. I am planning to give a talk soon to students at my
school about the nature of mathematics as mathematicians see it, and
I'm using Gauss' investigations about the prime counting function,
his estimate Li(x) for pi(x), and his conjecture that Li(x) > pi(x)
for all x (which is false) as an example of how inductive reasoning
arises in mathematics. I had wanted to compile a table of values to
help illustrate this example, and I remembered that Wolfram Alpha
could help me (I was at home working on this, and I don't currently
have a CAS at home).

Jonathan Groves