[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index]
Integrator Media Release
NEWS RELEASE ____________________________________________________________________________ ____ Computer Intelligence Any Web Surfer Can See Champaign, Illinois-What makes a computer "intelligent"? Observers the world over were shocked recently when IBM's Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov, the world's strongest chess player, in a six-game match. Suddenly, an activity that had previously seemed the exclusive domain of human intelligence-championship level chess-could be performed by the computer, and performed better than the best human expert. Early theoreticians of artificial intelligence suggested that two mental activities, each difficult to perform well but easy to gauge, would be useful yardsticks to measure progress in the field. One yardstick was chess; the other was the symbolic solution of integrals-a potentially tricky task, as any student of calculus can affirm. Both areas have been studied intensely in the intervening decades, and in each one computers can now outdo the unaided human brain. The winner in chess is Deep Blue; the winner in integration is Mathematica, a commercially available software system produced by Wolfram Research, Inc. Of course, only a few people will ever have a chance to play chess against Deep Blue. But anyone with a web browser can solve integrals interactively with Wolfram Research's Mathematica powered web site, The Integrator, found at http://www.integrals.com. How does the web site work? Just type in your integral. The Integrator sends the problem as a MathLink message to a Mathematica kernel, which then solves the integral using its built-in integrate function. The result is sent to the Mathematica front end, which produces textbook-like typeset output. This output then returns to the kernel, which embeds the output in a web page on the fly. The Integrator site has drawn national attention and has solved hundreds of thousands of integrals over the Internet. The web site's guest book shows signatures from all sorts of professions-lawyers, engineers, researchers, programmers, and teachers. One student wrote, "My Calc II professor brought in the Newsweek that had your address in it and wrote it on the board for us to copy." Monica Davis, Manager of Electronic Marketing at Wolfram Research, says the response to The Integrator has been surprising. "Everyone is thrilled with Mathematica's power to do integration," Davis says. "But it's also a good example of how well you can do network interactions using Mathematica's web capabilities." Wolfram Research is the world's leading developer of technical computing software. The company was founded by Stephen Wolfram in 1987 and released the first version of its flagship product, Mathematica, on June 23, 1988. Mathematica, the world's only fully integrated technical computing system, is relied on today by more than a million users worldwide in industry, government, and education. Mathematica 3.0 was released in the fall of 1996. Wolfram Research, Inc. is headquartered in Champaign, Illinois.