5 Very Neat Uses of Wolfram Alpha Search Engine

Saikat Basu

Wolfram Alpha is a mathematical computational engine. Now, if it sounds something that just goes with CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, then you should just hold that thought there for a while. Wolfram Alpha sounds terribly complicated, but scratch beneath the surface and you get to see a cool tool that combines knowledge with mathematical computation and wraps it all in easy English.  If you have just arrived at Wolfram Alpha, start here.

If you have been here awhile, let’s check out 5 very neat uses of Wolfram Alpha knowledge engine and the kind of answers it can give us.

1. Find Out if You Need to Pack Away those Calories

Okay, it won’t give you an answer if you ask it – mirror, mirror, tell me who is the fattest of them all. But Wolfram Alpha comes close by calculating your body mass index for you. BMI is a very useful number to know if you plan to get into a gym and into a conversation with the cute gym instructor. The BMI map below the result tells you exactly where you are located between the underweights and the obese.

Try it here

2. Split a Bill at a Restaurant

If it’s time to gorge and remove any thoughts of BMI, the restaurant is the best place. Going restaurant hopping? Then, take Wolfram Alpha with you, especially if you are planning to go Dutch. Wolfram Alpha has one nice tool that quickly helps to calculate a bill split. As you can see, Wolfram Alpha also gives you the converted amount in the local currency (in my case, India).

Try it here

3. Hit the Shopping Trail

The data is U.S. centric, so I wouldn’t be able to comment on its accuracy, but using Wolfram Alpha to get an idea of a few consumer products with a click sounds neat in itself. As the screen above shows, you can get comparative information on consumer products; look up products by brand, model number, and price; and also find products with specific characteristics.

Try it here

4. Are You Too Drunk to Drive?

If you don’t plan to meet up with a breath analyzer and a ticket, just type in the number of drinks you have had, gender, time, and body weight to find out if the blood alcohol level can catch the ire of a traffic cop.

Try it here

5. Generate Strong Passwords

Hit the Web & Computer systems page on Wolfram Alpha to check out the cool lineup of computational tools on offer. The password generator is the one you might use most frequently. Specify the number of characters you want and presto – the results look pretty much impenetrable.

Try it here

These five uses of Wolfram Alpha are just the tip of the resources on offer. The complete mind-boggling range is there for your use starting from the Examples page on the site. All the areas are perfectly illustrated with detailed examples. And don’t worry, Wolfram Alpha uses natural language processing, so generating results using the English language you speak won’t require an Einsteinian I.Q.

Tell us about your favorite use of Wolfram Alpha? How do you use it in your daily work?

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