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The alpha computer. A new kind of science

In the beginning was Tim Berners Lee and he invented the internet and he saw the internet and he said “It is good.”

On the second day Larry Page and Sergey Brim came along and “invented” search and they said “Do No Evil”.

But then along came Stephen Wolfram and his team at the Wolfram Research Company came along and gave us Wolfram|Alpha and made it awesome.


Wolfram|Alpha operates via a  “Computational Knowledge Engine” that does not just search for keywords but answers your question and adds various information around the question you were asking. The website will be online later today (I am writing this at 00:05 UTC on 15 March). You may have seen the screencast but if not spend a few minutes watching what this new ‘search’ engine is capable of right now.

Mathematica is software that I used at university for some explorations in Chaos Theory but it has a lot of applications to many branches of many areas of knowledge. Wolfram|Alpha has taken this as a base and added in the knowledge found on the internet and made it “computable”. 

What I find interesting for SAP is how this could be used with the Explorer technology shown at Sapphire this week. The power of the information that is in SAP systems around the world in all the different vertical business would make very interesting inputs to such an engine. We have heard SAP executives recently talking about how 50 percent of all the worlds financial transactions end up in an SAP system.  What value could that offer as an input to a  “Computational Knowledge Engine”.

Obviously a lot of the information is for inside the firewall as you can see from the overview demo of the BOExplorer. What if though information held in the worlds SAP systems was able to be added as an input to a computational engine such as Wolfram|Alpha.

Conversly Wolfram|Alpha could be an input to BOExplorer. You might find that a particalarly hot day drove up the sales of Ice Creams at the Clockhouse Tower Cafe or perhaps a cold winters day has made the ‘Chicken Laksa’ a popular menu choice in North Sydney

I think that this is just the beginning. As Stephen says: ‘This is a long term project’. I am looking forward with great anticipation to what can come out of these exciting developments.

What I want to know is why were there so many people named “Andrew” in the late 1980’s.

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