Stephen Wolfram is known from his ambitious projects: Mathematica and A New Kind of Science. But in recent years he has been hard at work on a still more ambitious project called Wolfram|Alpha which will be launched in just two months in May 2009.
Stephen Wolfram is building something new - and it is really impressive and significant. In fact it may be as important for the Web (and the world) as Google, but for a different purpose. It's not a "Google killer" -- it does something different. It's an "answer engine" rather than a search engine. It is not even a natural language search engine. The True Knowledge answer engine shares some similarities with Wolfram Alpha but there are also considerable differences.
Wolfram Alpha actually computes the answers to a wide range of questions that have factual answers. It doesn't simply contain huge amounts of manually entered pairs of questions and answers, nor does it search for answers in a database of facts. Instead, it understands and then computes answers to certain kinds of questions. This almost gets us to what people thought computers would be able to do 50 years ago!
Stephen Wolfram has introduced his new invention on the Wolfram Blog: Wolfram|Alpha is Coming! Check out Nova Spivack's public twine for more details which also appears as a guest post on TechCrunch.