Wolfram Alpha: A computational knowledge engine

If you have not already checked out the computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha, please do so. This computational knowledge engine quickly answers factual queries or computations via built in algorithms and stored data. For example, if you perform comparative company research at your library, you can enter the following query “Wal Mart Target” and receive the following data:

Current trade information:

WMT | $ 51.48 (WMT | NYSE | less than 1 min ago)\nTGT | $ 45.51 (TGT | NYSE | less than 1 min ago) 

Fundamentals and Financials:

 | Wal-Mart | Target\nmarket cap | $ 201.5 billion | $ 34.06 billion\nrevenue | $ 404.7 billion | $ 64.98 billion\nemployees | 2.1 million | 351000\nrevenue / employee | $ 193200 | $ 179700\nnet income | $ 13.52 billion | $ 2.135 billion\nshares outstanding | 3.897 billion | 752.3 million\nannual earnings / share | $ 3.39 | $ 2.86\nP/E ratio | 15.25 | 15.83\nannual dividends / share | $ 0.95 | $ 0.65\ndividend yield | 1.84% | 1.44%\n(based on trailing 12-month totals, last close price and annual employees)

Relative Price History:

\n(normalized relative to August 25, 2008 starting date)



Performance comparisons from last year:

 | average daily return | daily volatility | annual return | annual volatility\nWMT | -0.041% | 2.13% | -9.89% | 33.78%\nTGT | -0.023% | 3.90% | -5.53% | 61.85%\nSP500 | -0.083% | 2.87% | -18.85% | 45.55%\nbonds | +0.029% | 0.36% | +7.59% | 5.76%\nT-bills | +0.001% | 0.00% | +0.32% | 0.00%\n\n

 

Other interesting topics you can search on this computational knowledge engine include: mathematics, astronomy, web and computer systems, units and measures, people and history, culture and media, socioeconomic data, dates and time, and places and geography. This search tool could come in handy for random questions received at the reference desk. For a tutorial on Wolfram Alpha click the following link: http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html

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