Wolfram Alpha: Number crunching for people who love cities

Wolfram AlphaIt’s likely that you’ve already heard about Wolfram Alpha, a “computational knowledge engine” that computes answers rather than searching for them, like Google or Yahoo. Invented by a physicist and arguably most useful for calculating science or math questions, Wolfram Alpha also works with demographic and geographical statistics, making it really fun to play with!

So you can get an idea of how useful Wolfram Alpha can be, here are some searches I did:

Nevertheless, Wolfram Alpha cannot compute some data at the subnational level, or within the US at a level below the State. Luckily, the search engine is still under development. With already a range of 10 billion to 20 billion elements of data included in the search engine, the Wolfram Alpha team is still adding data and equations. Personally, I’d like to see city-level, or sub-city level, demographic and socio-economic data. Also, some economics equations, like location coefficient, could be really handy!

What do you think? Here’s a good place to start with Wolfram Alpha.

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2 Responses to “Wolfram Alpha: Number crunching for people who love cities”

  1. Wolfram alpha amd health questions: Searching allowed, but do not expect results | i-Brane said:

    May 17, 09 at 2:14 am

    [...] it a bit deaper already touched the limitations, ending with mixed feelings. A number of tests by Planningpool,  dobeweb up to the “Where is God” challenge clearly showed that not all questions are [...]

  2. Vanessa said:

    Jun 26, 09 at 11:40 am

    In this week’s Sniffer podcast , the hosts discuss hunch.com, a site which made me think of Wolfram Alpha.

    Instead of looking up quantitative answers for you, however, Hunch tries to give you qualitative advice, answering questions such as “What should I wear today” or “what city should I live in”. It asks you a series of questions (such as your gender, or “how important is the availability of affordable housing to you”) and then gives you advice.

    You can rate the advice, presumably helping it learn.

    Curious!