Wolfram Alpha – for Homework or Serious Science?

The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “Wired Campus” Blog contributes to the buzz about Stephen Wolfram‘s “Wolfram Alpha“, a query engine that uses a massive database and new algorithms to compute answers to natural-language questions.  The blog post points to a YouTube video of Wolfram’s demo at Harvard’s Berkman Center.

Though Wolfram Alpha is interesting in many ways, my eye caught this from the “Wired Campus” coverage of the demo:

Another [professor] asked who is the audience for the service — students working on homework or serious scientists? “The goal is to make expert-level knowledge accessible to anyone anywhere, anytime,” Mr. Wolfram said.

What a contrast!  The professor is locked into his parochial scholastic mindset;  Wolfram is thinking globally.  I am not in any doubt about which kind of thinking will prove to be most relevant in this century.

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