Five Useful Computations With Wolfram|Alpha


Wolfram|Alpha is best known as a free online computation tool for math and science. It can solve calculus problems while showing you the steps and it can show you how much a teaspoon of salt weighs. Wolfram|Alpha is to knowledge what Google is to information, but it isn’t a search engine – it’s a computation engine.

As powerful a tool as Wolfram|Alpha is for math and science, it has interesting applications for everyone, not just math and science geeks.

Here are a few interesting, non-traditional computations to try with Wolfram|Alpha.

1. Comparing Colleges

If your kids are planning for college and need a quick way to compare student body size, tuition or accrediting agencies between colleges, they can retrieve comparisons on important basic information about the colleges. Use a simple comparison query to retrieve results in a nice tabular format.

Example: Notre Dame | Penn State

2. Relocation Tools

Find out if a city’s cost of living is higher or lower before accepting a new job. Try a simple comparison query between your current city and a prospective city to get valuable crime, population, and weather statistics before you move.

Example: Washington DC | Austin Tx

3. Food

Wolfram|Alpha’s nutrition engine provides detailed nutritional information on many common foods.  If you’d like to compare the nutritional information of beef and chicken, simply type a comparison query like beef | chicken. You’ll need to select the types of processing (ground, smoked, cuts, etc.) to get accurate comparisons.

Example: beef | chicken

4. Dates

Find out what famous people were born on your birthday or how many days, weeks, and years you’ve lived.

Type in your birthday or other date to get specific data about that date.

Example: September 11, 2001

5. Occupations

If you’re looking for a career change but aren’t sure if it will pay off financially, type a simple comparison query like computer programmer | accountant to get helpful occupational comparison data.

Example: computer programmer | accountant

If you enjoy the Wolfram|Alpha website, check out the vast array of computations Wolfram|Alpha can perform. If you’re a mobile device user, you’ll be glad to know that there are Wolfram|Alpha apps available for the iPhone and iPad through the iTunes store and for Android devices through the Wolfram|Alpha website.



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