ARCHIVE: February 2012
February 27, 2012–

I get to show off the power of Wolfram|Alpha, Mathematica, and our other technologies to lots of interesting people, but last Friday was more interesting than usual, as David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, came to our European headquarters.

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron with Conrad Wolfram

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February 23, 2012–

The 2012 Academy Awards will be broadcast this Sunday, and once again Wolfram|Alpha can help you settle all sorts of Oscar-related arguments, generate some cool trivia questions for your Oscar-night party, and do a few fun new tricks you probably didn’t know about.

Consider the list of 2012 best picture nominations, for example. Even among the front-runners for this year’s statuette, there’s a pretty big spread in general popularity and box office performance. How big? Ask Wolfram|Alpha to compare box office for Moneyball, Hugo, The Artist, and The Help, and you can see that The Help has earned more than twice as much as Moneyball and more than 6 times as much as The Artist (which has 10 nominations this year, versus 4 for The Help). More »

February 21, 2012–

Wolfram|Alpha has been steadily growing since its initial release nearly three years ago, and this growth is directed, in part, by the queries it receives. For example, the Wolfram Education Portal was created largely in response to the obvious demand for Wolfram|Alpha in the classroom. As a more specific example, we’ve recently enabled Wolfram|Alpha to respond to domain and range queries for real functions.

The domain of a real function is the set of real numbers that can be plugged in so that the function returns a real value. If, for example, we wish to evaluate f(x) = √(x + 2) / (x – 1), then we should ensure that x + 2 > = 0 and x – 1 ≠ 0:

February 17, 2012–

Are you looking for a great way to spend your summer? We are happy to announce the Mathematica Summer Camp 2012! Held at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, students will have the opportunity to learn Mathematica’s language, apply their skills in other disciplines, and program their very own Wolfram Demonstrations! Students will also work individually and in groups to hone their Mathematica skills.

This unique, two-week overnight camp is designed for students entering their junior and senior years in high school. We look forward to seeing all the most talented high school students at camp this year! More »

February 13, 2012–

(Update: You can now find this data in the Wolfram Dog Breeds Reference App for iOS.)

Since prehistoric times, mankind has kept certain animals nearby for companionship, assistance in hunting tasks, and defense. Dogs are probably the most well-known examples of companion animals. This habit has continued to modern times and has resulted in a high number of dog breeds created for a variety of purposes. One modern convention is the concept of dog competitions. With the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show beginning today (more on this below), we thought this would be a good time to highlight some of the information Wolfram|Alpha has to offer concerning dog breeds:

February 9, 2012–

It’s a sad but true fact that most data that’s generated or collected—even with considerable effort—never gets any kind of serious analysis. But in a sense that’s not surprising. Because doing data science has always been hard. And even expert data scientists usually have to spend lots of time wrangling code and data to do any particular analysis.

I myself have been using computers to work with data for more than a third of a century. And over that time my tools and methods have gradually evolved. But this week—with the release of Wolfram|Alpha Pro—something dramatic has happened, that will forever change the way I approach data.

The key idea is automation. The concept in Wolfram|Alpha Pro is that I should just be able to take my data in whatever raw form it arrives, and throw it into Wolfram|Alpha Pro. And then Wolfram|Alpha Pro should automatically do a whole bunch of analysis, and then give me a well-organized report about my data. And if my data isn’t too large, this should all happen in a few seconds.

And what’s amazing to me is that it actually works. I’ve got all kinds of data lying around: measurements, business reports, personal analytics, whatever. And I’ve been feeding it into Wolfram|Alpha Pro. And Wolfram|Alpha Pro has been showing me visualizations and coming up with analyses that tell me all kinds of useful things about the data.

February 8, 2012–

Today I’m excited to be able to announce the launch of Wolfram|Alpha Pro—the biggest single step in the development of Wolfram|Alpha since its original introduction.

Over the two and a half years since we first launched, Wolfram|Alpha has been growing rapidly in content and capabilities. But today’s introduction of Wolfram|Alpha Pro in effect adds a whole new model for interacting with Wolfram|Alpha—and brings all sorts of fundamentally new and remarkable capabilities.

Starting today, everyone has access to Wolfram|Alpha Pro at wolframalpha.com. Unlike the “tourist” version of Wolfram|Alpha, though, you have to log in, and, yes, to get full capabilities there’s a subscription (\$4.99/month, or \$2.99/month for students). (Right now, you can try it for free with a trial subscription.)

So, what does Wolfram|Alpha Pro do?

February 6, 2012–

Remember that New Year’s resolution you made to lose weight this year? If you’re one of the many people around the world who pledged to get healthy and finally lose that weight, Wolfram|Alpha is here to help! Even with January behind us, there is still plenty of time to get back on track in 2012.

Studies throughout the decades have shown that regular diet and exercise is the number-one way to get healthy. Wolfram|Alpha can offer you a variety of different ways to start, track, and maintain your new healthy lifestyle.

Query how to lose weight, and Wolfram|Alpha will bring up a formula where you can enter all the information needed, including your intended physical activity level, to figure out how many calories you should be eating every day in order to reach your target body weight:

February 2, 2012–

Over the past few weeks, we’ve highlighted a ton of different ways that Wolfram|Alpha can help you explore and analyze NFL statistics. Neither team has a perfect record at stake in this weekend’s Giants-Patriots Super Bowl, but it still promises to be a tough contest and a typically over-the-top cultural experience—so in our final blog post of the 2011 NFL season, we’d like to suggest a few more useful stat queries, as well as some more unusual ways to use Wolfram|Alpha on Super Bowl Sunday.

First, the stats. The Giants won their regular season clash with the Patriots this year, and with the new game-level history plots we just added to team and player results, you can clearly see that the Giants’ defense put the pressure on Tom Brady that week, holding his passer rating to its lowest point of the season:

February 1, 2012–

Most of our users are aware that we release a new version of Wolfram|Alpha every week. Each version includes countless changes—including regular data updates to hundreds of sources, improvements to our natural-language parser and other core frameworks, and completely new areas of coverage. More »