WolframAlpha is essentially an Internet search engine, in the same manner that Google is an Internet search engine. But WolframAlpha focuses on computational searches, and is simply astonishing in the depth of information it can present, and in the form that presentation takes. I have wasted long stretches of time playing with this search engine. The elegance of the site makes me wish I had become a scientist rather than a lawyer, just so I would know more questions to ask of it.
Go to the site and watch the video demo – there’s a link to the video down on the right side of the home page. Here is the statement of goals from the site:
WolframAlpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.
WolframAlpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people — spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.
WolframAlpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.