The holiday shopping window is starting to close. How far along have you gotten?
To help out, we’ve compiled a list of some gift-giving ideas with a little bit of smarts to them.
Anki DRIVE: Artificial intelligence comes to the video game world. This one’s getting a lot of buzz – some are even heralding it as the season’s hottest toy. TIME Magazine has put it on its Top 25 innovations list, too. Each car, the company says, thinks for itself. The recipient of your gift can control it with an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or iPad Mini to go up against friends or AI-enabled opponents, but the car can drive itself and make its own decisions as it does so, becoming more sophisticated the more you drive and even deciding to take out players. The game comes with a physical track, two intelligent cars and the downloadable Anki DRIVE app. Check out the video here.
Mastufa Ahmed recently interviewed Luc Barthelet, Executive Director of Wolfram|Alpha to learn more about the company’s search algorithm. Asked about what semantic web technologies Wolfram uses, Barthelet responded, “Wolfram|Alpha is not searching the Semantic Web per se. It takes search queries and maps them to an exact semantic understanding of the query, which is then processed against its curated knowledge base. The main technology used is Mathematica whose language is used to describe the semantic queries, and Mathematica technology is used to build up the natural language parser, the data curation pipeline and perform the data processing, computation and visualization.” Read more
Last week speculation reigned about whether Google had set its sites on computational knowledge engine WolframAlpha, with the announcement that the search engine now is using WebGL technology for enhancing users’ ability to interact with complex, compound math functions. The search giant in December added 2-D graphing to its delivery of computed answers for calculations typed into its search box, and the most recent update means users now can plot and manipulate 3D graphs.
In addition to Google just wanting to own as much of search as possible – and increasingly to want to be a more semantically-enabled answer engine for user queries – discussion pointed to the fact that Wolfram Alpha is integrated with Apple’s Siri technology to help deliver factual answers to iPhone user queries. And Google itself reportedly is working on a Siri rival in a project code-named Majel that potentially could one-up Siri when it comes to delivering answers to requested information. Not to mention the recently publicized – and both lauded and lampooned – Project Glass, which has been described here as Google’s Siri for your eyes. (See the video here.) As of February, according to the NY Times, Siri accounted for 25 percent of all searches made on WolframAlpha.
WolframAlpha decided to make some more news of its own yesterday, following an already busy first quarter that saw, among other things, the launch of Wolfram Alpha Pro, a fee-based service that lets users compute with their own data, get dynamic versions of existing Wolfram|Alpha output, and download what WolframAlpha computes as data.
Now it’s added to its repertoire a feature that provides some computational insights into the work of the immortal Bard.
Deiter Bohn reports that Wolfram Alpha is now offering a “Pro” version of their data analysis services for just $4.99 a month: “The new services includes the ability to use images, files, and even your own data as inputs instead of simple text entry. The ‘reports’ that Wolfram Alpha kicks out as a result of these (or any) query are also beefed up for Pro users, some will actually become interactive charts and all of them can be more easily exported in a variety of formats. [The Verge] sat down with Stephen Wolfram himself to get a tour of the new features and to discuss what they mean for his goal of ‘making the world’s knowledge computable.’” Read more
Recently the Semantic Web Blog let readers know about the IntelliVocab app from Faqden Labs. The semantics-infused app for the Android, iPhone and iPad, is aimed at helping students prepare for vocabulary sections of SAT, GRE and GMAT tests.
Photo courtesy: Flickr/Carnaval King 08
The company now is aiming to re-purpose the data-meaning and
Photo courtesy: Flickr/Alex France
collaborative interaction principles behind the technology to address needs at opposite ends of the spectrum: The grammar-school set and job-seekers. “Fundamentally from our perspective our technique is not to use core semantics like RDF triples and all, but we are building products based on the essence of the Semantic Web,” says founder Irfan Mohammed. “That is, to have meaning to the data so you can personalize the experience.”
TV viewers familiar with CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (pictured above) may recall last week’s episode, where one of the characters comes up with an idea for a smart phone app to help solve differential equations. Being that the main characters are all geeks, the app is supposed to solve the kind of incredibly complex problems that only the most brilliant mathematicians and scientists try to tackle. As one character puts it, it will appeal only to about 70 people in the entire world, which means that if it takes off, they could potentially become “hundred-aires.”
Well, in one of those life imitates art moments – sort of – WolframAlpha has just released the first set of a series of “Course Assistant” apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, including calculus and algebra. Where the real deal departs from the TV script is that WA is tackling subjects that have appeal to a lot more of the masses than what The Big Bang guys were working on. Just think back to high school – and college, too, in the case of the Calculus app – and you’ll know what we mean. There’s also a music theory Course Assistant app in the first set of releases.
Moderated by: Carla Thompson, Guidewire Group
Andrew Tomkins, Yahoo! Search
Peter Norvig, Google
Riza Berkan, hakia
Scott Prevost, Powerset division of bing
Tomasz Imielinski, Ask.com
William Tunstall-Pedoe, True Knowledge
Semantic technology changes the rules of the search marketspace, but exactly how, and by how much, are the key questions. Announcements are made daily for new companies with niche search applications, and clearly lots of start-ups are betting they can gain enough market share to create value for their investors. Meanwhile the major players are rapidly adding semantic enhancements to existing services to improve relevancy, create new query services, improve ad targeting and provide more customization options for users. The field is full of innovation, competition and new investment.
This Keynote Panel session brings together major incumbents with promising upstarts to assess the current and future state of the semantic search market. Can semantic technology open up truly differentiated search services? Will success be won with technological advantage, creative branding and positioning, or sheer market dominance? The executives represented on the panel bring deep technical expertise and business savvy.
Russell Foltz-Smith, Business Development for Wolfram|Alpha sits down with Nova Spivack of Twine.com to discuss the recent launch; what Wolfram|Alpha is (and is not) and where the much talked about project is heading from here. How is Wolfram pursuing distribution, licensing deals, etc.? What will their API look like?
New semantic web tag format announced Bluhalo, UK The semantic web has come to the fore of certain companies’ development efforts in recent times, with new search engines such as Microsoft’s Bing and Wolfram Alpha making use of semantic technology to deliver more relevant results to users.
Wolfram Alpha has been launched and is available for the public to try. I sat down to play with it.
FIrstly (using the rare American adverb here – don’t be confused), you can’t expect Wolfram Alpha to act like Google. It is a new kind of search engine, as one should expect from Stephen Wolfram. Wolfram is famously the inventor of Mathematica and author of A New Kind of Science.