Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Geeking Out - Wolfram Alpha

Totally off subject, but just found something that really satisfies the geek in me and I reckon deserves credit. I have had my head immersed in Mathematica (A mathematical computing program) a fair bit recently whilst working on my dissertation and am a big fan, its insane how easy it is to calculate and simulate some really complex stuff. The makers of Mathematica are taking this technology to the web and a mass market with Wolfram Alpha. Their aim is to "make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything." Thats one hell of an ambition. As a tool its not quite there yet but as a concept I think its brilliant. The implementation of this has required the storage of a seriously hefty 10 terrabytes of data and some similarly massive processing power. They are only just breaking into their second week online so a few years down the line this is going to be a seriously powerful bit of kit that everyone has free access to, thats really exciting stuff.

Heres some interesting uses I have found for Alpha so far:

  • Tide and Wind data - not sure where they source the data but loads of detail and some great historical data.

  • Meaning of life: 42 - obviously.

  • Robbie: 17362 Americans currently sharing this name (78k American Tims, burn!)

  • Fourier Transform, Taylor Series, Bessel Functions . . . well who wouldnt want to test these!

Anyway I promise my next update will be a little less geeky, the dissertation is now in and the bike is getting dusted off. Thursday and Friday have been booked off for an assault on the Valleys with James and Rob. Pics and Story to follow!

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