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May 10, 2009

Mathematics I Can Use

In this post: Wolfram Alpha is introduced and considered to be a possible market research tool …

Heidi StrandIt isn’t my strong suit. But, I can truly appreciate math and its potential in uncovering gems of statistcal relevance.

In fact, a finely-tuned algorithm might even make my heart skip a beat if it provides the answer to my demographic and psychographic target audience analyses!

Which is why when I read about Wolfram Alpha, I did a little dance of joy.

Haven’t heard of it?

You’re probably not the only one!

A recent New York Times article introduces this “better than sliced bread” innovation: “In a talk at Harvard Law School, Stephen Wolfram, a well-known mathematician, scientist and entrepreneur, gave a demonstration of his soon-to-be released Web service which promises to answer all sorts of questions … What can it do? It can describe places, like Lexington, Mass., by its vital statistics, such as location, population, weather, etc. It can compare Lexington with Moscow. It can chart the life expectancy of a male age 40 in Italy or tell you who was president of Brazil in 1928. “

Still not quite clear? Harvard law professor, Jonathan Zittrain, explains, ‘It aspires to the depth and breadth of a traditional almanac. And it allows people to juxtapose data, to take a set of facts and relate them to other facts in new ways. You can compare population trends to the amount of fish consumed and correlate it to mortality rate.’


While not yet perfected, based on recent trial searches by CNET and CNN, this new Holy Grail of search engines may yet help me accurately compute tips and my daughter’s Everyday Math homework!

Oh, yeah … and that darn market research, too.