Thursday, 2 July 2009

To boldly search…

I’m sure you’ll be familiar with this scenario.

You want to find out, say, something about the GDPs of countries in the developed and developing world. So you do a search (mostly in Google, but it might be Yahoo or one of the others) – e.g. “gdp uk nigeria usa india” – you get around 40,000 hits (in Google) with sites like The World - Globalisation and Trade and Economy Watch. With luck you might get a site that give you the answer, or you might have to visit two or three to get what you want.

Or let’s say you want to find out how many people suffer from malaria and AIDS – again you try Google (over 5 million hits this time!) and again you might strike it lucky.

One more example: what has the weather been like in London over the last 20 years. Google gave me about 3,000 results but nothing really along the lines I wanted.  

So what if there was a search engine that actually tried to answer questions like this? Well now there is. It’s new and still under development, so don’t expect it to have an answer for everything: but you’ll be amazed at what it can do already and what its potential is.

The three questions I gave above were all answered within seconds:

London’s weather 1990-2000: 

Average temperature 12o Celsius (range –7o to 38o), and here’s the temperature chart:

or what about humidity?

Malaria versus AIDS:

Malaria: 910,707 deaths per year world wide
AIDS: 2,917,00 deaths per year world wide

GDPs of the four countries:

USA: $13.78 trillion per year
UK: $2.77 trillion per year
India: $1.41 trillion per year
Nigeria: $0.17 trillion per year

And here’s a chart:

Are you excited yet? Do you want to know where you can find all this? Your wait is over…

Wolfram Alpha – give it a whirl!

No comments:

Post a Comment