WolframAlpha is a self-described “computational knowledge engine,” an extensive database of knowledge and a powerful calculator in one. It differs from a search engine such as Google in that it does not search the web for answers, rather it computes answers to questions and queries utilizing its own algorithms and a curated collection of peer-reviewed data sources.
Want to see what WolframAlpha can do with different queries? Here are a few examples:
- x^3 – 4x^2 + 6x – 24 = 0
- population of cities in Utah
- words that rhyme with fire
- Utah Jazz steals per game
- West Valley City weather 3/11/1968
Below are the results provided for the query “earthquakes in Salt Lake City”
WolframAlpha provides an educators page with many ideas and resources for utilization in the classroom. Other goodies include an extensive library of customizable widgets that can be embedded on a website or blog. Although WolframAlpha is free, there is a paid professional upgrade which provides more detailed computations and visual renderings in many areas. WolframAlpha is also available as a paid mobile app for the iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. The paid apps include many of the features available only to Pro users on the web.