Thursday, March 31, 2011

New fun toy discovered!

Wolfram Alpha. It's like the Integrator, but solves more problems, including derivatives. It is well known that any elementary function has a derivative expressible as an elementary function (for an appropriate value of "elementary") and that the chain rule, product rule, sum rule, and power rule are sufficient to build an algorithm around to find any derivative. In fact, it was considered to be trivial, which is why Wolfram originally only published the Integrator.

Well, now it does derivatives. derivative of sqrt((x-a)^2+(y-b)^2) . It even shows its work, in the form that a person would do it on paper. So, no excuses now about derivatives. Just learn what one is, and let Alpha actually do them.

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