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Re: Mathematica 8 and Alpha integration....

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  • Subject: [mg114027] Re: Mathematica 8 and Alpha integration....
  • From: truxton spangler <truxtonspangler29 at>
  • Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2010 18:27:30 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <ic5i92$3t8$>

On Nov 19, 9:07 pm, Jason Ledbetter <jasonbr... at> wrote:
> First, I'm excited about this integration. I'm excited about the natural
> language capabilities.
> I'm not sure how this practice mixes with reality, however.
> 1) Taking the first example from Wolfram's blog, one can ask alpha "=plot x
> sin^3x" then follow that up with "=add black frame". Yet it can't comprehend
> "remove black frame"....
> So I try "change frame to blue" and alpha returns an input interpretation of
> "Show[%, Frame->True, FrameStyle->Pink]". Pink? Really? I guess it made up
> an answer because it stated Alpha doesn't yet know how to respond to the
> query.
> I'm beginning to wonder if I don't need documentation on what "natural
> language" Mathematica 8/Alpha actually knows....
> 2) I can ask Mathematica 8/alpha "=average 1,2,3,4,5" and get Mean[{1,...}] back with a
> result of 3. Great.
> However, one can't say "a={1,2,3,4,5}" and "=average a".
> There seems to be this line drawn in the interaction between notebook and
> it's variables and what is passed to alpha.
> Are the details of this interaction and the capabilities documented
> anywhere?
> Is there something one needs to do to "convert a" to something Alpha can
> understand other than just using the raw input numbers again?
> 3) I'm not sure CTRL= does anything.
> Entering "average 1,2,3,4,5" does give me a result that I'd expect similar
> to #2 but entering "average a" as defined in #2 gives me "no mathematica
> translations".... i'm under the (potentially false) impression that CTRL= is
> more "local" than just =.
> I'm thinking that "natural language" is a good idea, but not if the speaker
> has to reduce his vocabulary and the expectations of that vocabulary to meet
> what the product does.
> Two possibilities I see:
> A) I'm expecting too much.
> B) It will get there sometime later.
> Which results in:
> Expecting to use Alpha integration for anything more than pulling data from
> their curated databases is going to be a failure in the current version.
> thoughts?
> -jbl

I'd agree with this but to be fair, at this stage the natural language
stuff is merely a free SaaS. It may not be useful for real work until
Mathematica 10 or 11 but the more people use it the more the developers will

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