Wolfram|Alpha is like Google on crack.  However, it is not technically a search engine; it is a “computational knowledge” engine. They use a huge collection of trustworthy, built-in data to get the user the information or knowledge they are looking for. When you search for an item, Wolfram|Alpha gives you all of the relevant knowledge they have on that specific search query. For example, here is the results for the search “when did the Beatles break up?” Not only do you get the date the Beatles broke up, you also get how long away that date is from today and other noteworthy events that occurred on the same day. Here is another example, for the search “carbon footprint driving 536 miles at 32mpg” that tells you the amount of fuel consumed and the amount of c02 and carbon emitted.

Because Wolfram|Alpha is just retrieving answers from its huge database of information and formulas, you have to be specific and ask non-opinionated questions. For example, the website does not know which Lil Wayne song is the best. However, it does know things that are not opinions, like the nutritional facts of 10,000 big macs and how many planes are currently flying directly over you.

I find Wolfram|Alpha to be better than Google when I am quickly looking for specific answers. I just typed in “Countries that border France” on both Wolfram|Alpha and Google. Wolfram|Alpha quickly showed me a list of the 8 countries and a map with of France with its bordering countries highlighted. Google on the other hand sent me over to Yahoo Answers…

Other than a fun search engine, Wolfram|Alpha can also be used as a highly effective tool for college. Like the title mentions, the knowledge engine can in fact solve any calculus problem. It can easily solve any math problem thrown its way, from a basic algebra problem to whatever this is.

Wolfram|Alpha can also be used for many other college courses such as biology, astronomy, history, etc.

As Wolfram|Alpha can be kind of confusing and hard to get the hang of at first, I suggest going through this short tour and looking at some examples to help give you a better sense of how to use it. Even if you find it a little bit confusing at first, keep trying because Wolfram|Alpha really is a great way to “hack college.”