I’ve blogged before about the power of Wolfram Alpha, Mathematica creator Wolfram Research’s powerful online “knowledge engine” which is capable of, among other things, balancing chemical equations, looking up star charts, doing math, and even looking up medical information.
But it’s good to know that, despite the sophisticated computational engine which underlies it, Wolfram Alpha hasn’t forgotten its “ancestor” the abacus, a tool used by many cultures before the dawn of the electronics age.
Like a respectful child, Wolfram Alpha pays respects to its ancestors with a feature which allows you to see how any number would be represented in abacus form. Case in point, I entered the search string “abacus 24” into the Wolfram Alpha engine and got:
(Image credit – abacus)(results from Wolfram Alpha engine)