That’s your homework done: Wolfram Alpha plans course assistant apps

Wolfram Alpha is launching the first three apps in a series of ‘course assistant’ apps.

The aim is to offer solutions for any question that might be asked in these subject areas, and usually to offer an explanation for that answer – making school course-work pretty redundant, perhaps.

The first three apps are algebra, calculus and music theory. And, says the company, it aims to have an app available for every major course, all organized according to their major curriculum units.

“The really important thing, of course, is that Wolfram Alpha can actually solve these problems. It’s not just giving a certain set of canned results; it’s actually computing the solution to whatever specific problem it’s asked,” says founder Stephen Wolfram.

“And what’s more — in typical Wolfram Alpha style — it doesn’t give a basic answer; it also generates all sorts of additional information that’s relevant for understanding the answer. And in math, for example, it’s often also able to show the steps that a person could follow if they wanted to work out the answer by hand.”

While there’s no doubt that the apps will make pretty awesome tools for cheating, but Wolfram says they’re ideal for teachers too. They’re a good way to ‘scope out’ what’s involved in a course, and work out  examples and real-world cases too.

The company plans to roll out more apps over the next few months, covering courses in the humanities and in many professional areas as well as in the sciences. It’s also planning Android versions of the apps.