Stephen Wolfram, a well-known mathematician, scientist and entrepreneur, gave a demonstration at Harvard Law School of his soon-to-be released web service called “Wolfram Alpha”, which promises to answer all sorts of questions, and had technology bloggers abuzz that a rival to Google was about to hit the Web.
Wolfram Alpha answers questions, often by doing complex, and new computations. It can describe places, like Lexington, Mass., by its vital statistics, like location, population, weather, etc. It can compare Lexington with Moscow. If you type “LDL 180,” it will tell you the percentile of the population with higher or lower cholesterol and show you the answer on a chart. If you tell “LDL 180 male 45,” it will adjust the chart for gender and age group. It can chart the life expectancy of a male age 40 in Italy or tell you who was president of Brazil in 1928.