If you’ve ever been brought to your knees by an insane calculus problem, or been completely flummoxed on how to find the exact velocity of a gourd fired out of a cannon or something weird like that, you’ve probably heard of Wolfram Alpha before. According to its webpage, Wolfram Alpha is “a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base,” and is commonly used by high school and college students alike to help with problems in math and science class.
Basically, Wolfram Alpha is a web application that can tell you almost everything about nearly any topic. This makes it one of the most useful websites on the Internet. It works by a simple search bar, with an system that identifies what you are asking it, and then spits out results of tested, factual knowledge on any subject your heart desires. It began as an online version of Stephen Wolfram’s Mathematica software, which was basically a math equation solver. Over the years it grew, becoming more robust, adding more features and more information. There is even an app now available on the App Store for $2.99, which can provide you with an answer for all of your questions right from your smartphone.
Wolfram Alpha isn’t just for math majors. Here are just a few of the insane things it can do to improve your daily life:
Ever wonder how your dog sees you from his/her point of view? Wolfram Alpha can tell you. Simply ask it to "apply dog vision" to any specific item (like a ladybug or a house), and it will apply a filter on the image that simulates how your dog probably sees the world.
You wake up in the morning, and you're attempting to roll out of bed knowing you will have to begrudgingly exchange your warm, fuzzy dinosaur blanket for some more socially acceptable attire. But, you have no clue what the temperature is outside, and there is no way you're going to sacrifice your warmth and comfiness to find out. Just pull out your handy dandy Wolfram Alpha app, and voila:
Along with weather data for the current time, you'll get an hourly forecast for the rest of the day, the chance/timing/amount of rain, and anything else you may need to know. Not to mention, you will be able to see historical highs, lows and various weather statistics that only weathermen actually understand.
If you've got a hot date tonight, and you're fresh out of ideas on how to entertain your companion...what's that? A bird? A plane? No! It's Wolfram Alpha to the rescue! While looking up the weather for the night, Wolfram Alpha can also provide you with the star map for your location as well. Looks like you and your date are in for a romantic night of a little wine, a little food and a picnic under the stars while it's still kind of warm outside. You'll knock it out of the park with your encyclopedic knowledge of constellations, and if worst comes to worst, you two can snuggle for warmth. Have fun, kids.
You can even plot and track the location of the International Space Station, as well as any planes in your area so you can finally settle the age-old argument of what that possibly blinking object in the distance might be.
In the event that you don't do so well on your date (despite your foolproof stargazing plan) and you're back on the market once again, Wolfram Alpha can help you keep track of all the calories you devour--from your ham and cheese omelet in the morning, to those mozz sticks with marinara to which you regretfully succumbed to last night.
And once you realize you're never going to get those washboard abs without working out, the app can help you determine how much time you're going to have to spend in the the Plex to work it all off.
Finally, seeing as you're probably going to be making loads of new friends (because of college and such), Wolfram Alpha will help you manage your social networks efficiently and effectively. It can give you data on your posts, your likes, your friends' demographics and perhaps most interestingly, it can create a friend map. This friend map shows the mutual connections of your friends on Facebook, and provides a sort of web of all of the social groups you might belong to, color coding specific types of people, such as what they call "social insiders" in purple, and "social connectors" in green.
While Wolfram Alpha has an insane amount more to show you, like comparative stock market features (for all those CSOM kids), as well as gambling probabilities so you might not lose so big at Poker Night next week, it would be impossible to describe all of the endless possibilities in one article. If this list has piqued your interest with some of the cool things that this undervalued app can do, go check it out and blow someone's mind with the encyclopedic knowledge you have in your pocket, or visit the site at wolframalpha.com.