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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Introduction – What is Wolfram Alpha?

May 15, 2009 will always be remembered as the day that Wolfram Alpha has been officially launched.

Stephen Wolfram, a British scientist, and inventor of Mathematica, is the creator of Wolfram Alpha.

Wolfram Alpha is a different kind of search engine, actually it could be more precisely described as a computational knowledge engine. It is using inbuilt algorithms, and its huge knowledge base (trillions of pieces of data!), to compute queries in various topics, such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Astronomy and more.

What kind of resources does Wolfram Alpha use?

Building and maintaining such a computationally intensive engine, requires a tremendous amount of resources.
The following resources had been gathered for the launch day:

– Five distributed co-location facilities
– Two supercomputers
– 10,000 processor cores
– Hundreds of terabytes of disks
– Lots of bandwidth
– Lots of cooling / air-conditioning

The result is the ability to handle 175 million queries (yielding maybe a billion) per day—over 5 billion queries (encompassing around 30 billion calculations) per month!

Wolfram Alpha vs Google vs Wikipedia

Wolfram Alpha is as much of a “Google killer” as Wikipedia is, i.e. neither it is nor it is intented to be (as of now).
Google is indexing the Web, and provides search results, whereas Wolfram Alpha computes the results.
In fact, as Google has currently started indexing Twitter, it could start indexing Wolfram Alpha results, and possibly direct huge amounts of traffic on their site. A Google – Wolfram co-operation would benefit every Web user, as long as they agree on a business model of course.

However it could become a “Wikipedia killer” in certain science areas, as instead of searching for referencing material on Wikipedia, you could directly get a Wolfram Alpha result.

Wolfram Alpha in action

1. Hello
wolfram_alpha-1
2. Where are you?
wolfram_alpha-2
3. Where am I?
wolfram_alpha-3
4. How old are you?
wolfram_alpha-4
5. 100 mph
wolfram_alpha-5
6. 10 usd in euros
wolfram_alpha-6
7. July 4th, 1970
wolfram_alpha-7
8. London UK
wolfram_alpha-8
9. x^2 sin(x)
wolfram_alpha-9
10. Albert Einstein
wolfram_alpha-10
11. To be or not to be?
wolfram_alpha-11

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Microsoft is desperately trying to convince people that being a Windows user is a lot better than being a Mac user. Their latest ad campaign features people declaring that they are a PC. Even famous people, like Bill Gates or Eva Longoria participate on the commercials, and they are all saying “I’m a PC”.

Now, that is absolutely true, they are indeed a PC, and every human being is, let’s see why:

1. Humans: When they start working everyday, they do it in the most efficient way. However, depending on the type of work, a few hours later they are always getting tired, resulting in less productivity. Well, at the end of the day, they also need to get some sleep, in order to get to work the day after. Moreover, as humans become older, they cannot work that much.

PCs: When they boot up, every application seems to be super-fast. Later on, as RAM consumption increases, performance is not that good. The very same applications do not load that fast. Processing and displaying times are usually decreased, at a point where the PC has to be restarted in order to satisfy its user. As time goes by and applications are being installed/uninstalled, the performance deteriorates.

2. Humans: When they do a simple task, they should do it well. Starting doing more tasks at the same time, increases the probability of something to go wrong. For example, if a human being is driving his car, and at the same time he is on his cell phone, he might get distracted and crash somewhere.

PCs: When they do a task, they do it well, however multi-tasking could cause some problems. For example, imagine Firefox, Windows Live Messenger, Antivirus, Firewall, and Word all opened for quite some time, and then Photoshop or other “heavy” application loading up. Chances are that something might crash!

3. Humans: They get sick, they need medicine and a doctor! They also have to protect themselves, wearing the appropriate clothes during each season.

PCs: They get viruses, they need an antivirus/antispyware application. PC users have to be cautious, for example they shouldn’t run “suspicious” exe files.

4. Humans: They have to put their belongings in some order, otherwise it would take them more time to find what they need.

PCs: Their filesystem has to be defragmented, otherwise the whole system cannot perform very well.

5. Humans: There is always someone else a human being would like to look alike. For example, someone with a nicer car, or more handsome, or with a better job, or famous etc. A human with limited resources might not be able to have or do everything he wished for.

PCs: Sooner or later a better PC would exist for every current PC, having more RAM, better CPU, graphics card etc. Newer applications, like games, might not be able to even load up.

In conclusion, as a human being, I would simply like to say “I wish I were a Mac“.

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Wired has posted an excellent diagram explaining the life cycle of a blog post.

What happens when you press “Publish”, how search engines are notified etc., until the post is delivered to a reader’s monitor.

The diagram is in Flash format, and you can use your mouse to navigate it.

The Life Cycle Of A Blog Post

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Top 5 CES 2008 videos

These are my favorite videos from CES 2008 so far.


1. Alienware wide curved display

Imagine playing your favorite computer game on that display! On the video you can watch a short demo of Crysis.


2. Sony 82” display

Gee, and I thought a 40” display is big enough…


3. LG watch mobile phone

Watch and mobile phone, 2 in 1. Looks cool, and the functionality reminds me of the watch that “Knight Rider” was using to call Kit!


4. Guitar Wizard

Learn how to play a guitar with this fantastic software.


5. Bill Gates – Last day at Microsoft

You’ve never seen Bill Gates like that before!

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