Welcome to the Student Innovator Blog

Welcome to the Student Innovator Blog

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The Student Innovators is a group of students passionate about using technology to help learning. They will be trying out apps and web tools alongside their studies and give feedback on the Student Innovator blog. They work together as a team to share their experiences so you know before you download which app is best. You are welcome to read their reviews and leave comments.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

WolframAlpha review - By Mustafa Mahmoud

WolframAlpha review

Possibly the best app ever

WolframAlpha is an app (and website) that has basically been in development for over 25 years, and it shows. It is what every single student craves, an app/website that tells them exactly what they want to know. It could be compared to Google, if all the websites on the internet were a part of Google itself. So what exactly is WolframAlpha? 

WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge engine that answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from externally sourced "curated data", rather than providing a list of documents or web pages that might contain the answer as a search engine might. This means that you can throw almost any question at it (within reason) and it should be able to provide an answer. There is one caveat though – most of its features are hidden behind a subscription fee. These features include:

Being able to upload:
  - Raw tabular data
  - Images
  - Audio
  - XML 
  - Many different scientific, medical and mathematical formats all for automatic analysis.
An extended keyboard
Interactivity with CDF
Data downloads
The ability to customise and save graphical and tabular results
Extra computation time
And arguably the best feature, an in-depth step by step solution

Testing it out

Unfortunately WolframAlpha is focused mainly on scientific and mathematical data, although it can still answer many other questions. The business model is rather interesting as they approached it in many different ways. The app is a dumbed down version of the website. As it is a paid app (£2) it offers everything that the premium desktop version does, minus anything that requires uploading. What’s odd however is that iOS offers an even more dumbed down version for free, and a pro version at the aforementioned price. Android only has the paid alternative. The desktop version has both a free and premium version, with the premium subscription costing $5.49 ($3.75 for students) a month. Overtime this can stack up, making WolframAlpha quite a costly investment. My recommendation would be to test the app first (if you’re on iOS) or to just check out the website. If you like what you see, then you can invest, and if not, well it’ll always be waiting for you regardless.

WolframAlpha is available on android and iOS.

It can also be accessed here.

By Mustafa Mahmoud

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