WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha is a magical website that solves homework through the power of computers. Plugging your homework into WolframAlpha is usually preferrable to making a thread in /wsr/ about it. Of course, Wolfram isn’t impeccable (very much so), and often you’ll have to make a thread.

How to plug your homework into WolframAlpha

Wolfram syntax is largely very simple and can be determined through common sense and wild guessing.

For example, to obtain \(\displaystyle \int_a ^b f(x) \ dx\), you’ll want to plug in “integrate f(x) from a to b.” A concrete example here.

For another example, if you want to obtain the sample standard deviation of a data set, you can do “standard deviation [numbers here separated by commas]”. As in here.

A third example: your freshman physics homework tells you that a ball was thrown at a 45 degrees angle at a speed of 5 meters per second. You can, of course, plug it in.

Sometimes, Wolfram will exceed computation time. When this happens, you’ll want to massage the problem a bit to make it more palatable. The thumb rule is “computers hate symbolic manipulation”. To give a weird example, often enough \(\displaystyle \int f(x) \ dx\) can be evaluated by Wolfram, but the moment you ask instead for \(\displaystyle \int _a ^b f(x) \ dx\), it recoils at the idea of plugging in abstract constants \(a\) and \(b\) into the integral and giving a cleaner expression.