Monday, May 11, 2009

New Search Service Aims to Answer Tough Questions - NYTimes.com

More WolframAlpha perspectives

“In many ways, creating a system like this has been a holy grail of lots of folks for some time,” said Nathan Myhrvold, a former chief technology officer of Microsoft and co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, an investment company that owns a portfolio of patents.

“It has wound up being considered something that is virtually impossible,” Mr. Myhrvold said. WolframAlpha has shown “that it wasn’t impossible but really difficult,” he added. “It involved applying lots of different tricks.”

Doug Lenat, an artificial intelligence expert whose company Cycorp has spent the last 15 years developing a system that brings human-like reasoning to some computer systems, said WolframAlpha can handle “an astronomical number of questions,” and could eventually turn into a favorite destination on the Web.

“It may become a massive player alongside Google,” Mr. Lenat said.

New Search Service Aims to Answer Tough Questions - NYTimes.com

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