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This article was published on August 12, 2011

    Wolfram Alpha adds powerful, interactive search results

    Wolfram Alpha adds powerful, interactive search results
    Martin Bryant
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    Martin Bryant

    Founder

    Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

    The world’s geekiest search engine (that’s a ‘Computational Knowledge Engine’ to you), Wolfram Alpha has launched a new feature that allows you to manipulate data interactively.

    Using the CDF format launched by Wolfram Labs recently, once you switch on CDF support in the top right-hand corner of the screen, you’ll be able to Interact with your results using sliders and controls. This allows you to: interact with your results using sliders and controls; rotate and zoom 3D graphics and visualizations, and manipulate results directly in your browser.

    In practice, this could be a real boon for Wolfram Alpha’s core audience of people with a keen interest in science and mathematics. Examples of the features in use include the ability to rotate a 3D model of the molecular structure of dopamine; edge detect an image of Abraham Lincoln image with a variable radius, and explore the idea behind an equation, using a graph with movable sliders with change the variables concerned.

    Interactivity isn’t available for all results yet, but where it is it really enhances the experience and deep understanding that Wolfram Alpha can provide.

    Okay, it’s geeky, but as progress in the world of search results, this is hugely impressive. As Stephen Wolfram says in his blog post, “Sometimes being able to change parameters dynamically just enriches what is already rather complete output. But often, it’s what really makes the output meaningful.”

    If you want to give it a go, you’ll have to install the Wolfram CDF Player browser plugin and then activate CDF support at WolframAlpha.com.