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Integrator Media Release

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg7891] Integrator Media Release
  • From: Heather Albright <albright>
  • Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 15:35:51 -0400
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

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

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

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.

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