By Claire Bates
Last updated at 8:39 PM on 09th March 2009
A renowned British physicist is launching a new internet search engine in May, which experts said could be as important as Google.
Professor Stephen Wolfram, founder of software company Wolfram Research, announced that work was almost finished on the first phase of his 'computational knowledge engine.'
Most search engines like Google and Yahoo scan through billions of web pages for keywords or phrases and return a series of documents that may contain the answer to your question., or point you in the right direction.
'We can only answer questions that have been literally asked before. We can look things up, but we can’t figure anything new out,' Professor Wolfram said.
However, the London-born physicist claims his website 'Wolfram Alpha' can understand what you are looking for and calculate a precise answer.
So in theory it will be able to answer questions such as 'What is the location of Timbuktu?', 'How many protons are in the hydrogen atom?' and 'Where is the International Space Station?'
'There will be one simple input field that gives access to a huge system, with trillions of pieces of curated data and millions of lines of algorithms,' Professor Wolfram said.
This ability to process natural language, understanding everyday speech as well as computer-programming language, could prove to be a leap forward in how humans interact with computers.