# I put in a quadratic and all I got was this dumb parabolaDecember 10, 2011 4:12 AM   Subscribe

Google will now graph! Google Post description. Now... examples! sin(x), exp(x), x^2+2x+1. We're not nearly done... posted by twoleftfeet (36 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

Etc? Are there others?

Anyway, I don't need all these fancy plots, Google, please just tell me what the roots of x5-x-1 are.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:21 AM on December 10, 2011

Here's my graph of 3 phase power.
posted by MikeWarot at 4:22 AM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Windowing: x^2 from -3 to 7
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:25 AM on December 10, 2011

On the mobile interface, the top result for sin(x) is the wolfram alpha page for sin(x).
posted by cromagnon at 4:32 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do I need Google Chrome to make this work?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:39 AM on December 10, 2011

Global constants: π*x or speed of light*x.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:40 AM on December 10, 2011

Crude natural language: half of one times x
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:46 AM on December 10, 2011

I can't seem to figure out how to do a cardioid or heart equation graph in google.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:57 AM on December 10, 2011

Weird. Google graphed for me yesterday, but not today.

( cos(400*x)*sqrt(cos(x)) + sqrt(abs(x)) - 0.4 ) * (4 - x^2)^(1/10) is a pretty good filled-in heart shape.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 5:25 AM on December 10, 2011 [28 favorites]

Do I need Google Chrome to make this work?

I just tried it in five browsers under Windows 7. It works in Firefox, Chrome and Safari. It didn't work in Opera or Internet Explorer.
posted by JHarris at 6:24 AM on December 10, 2011

So, stuff we could do with Gnuplot (or similar software) in the 80s or 90s is now exciting again because we can do it inside a web browser, requiring broadband connectivity and a lot more resources than it takes to just run software locally? I don't get it. Our computers are getting more and more powerful, and we use them for less and less - just glorified terminals.
posted by crazy_yeti at 6:43 AM on December 10, 2011 [7 favorites]

The only reason I want Siri for my iPhone 4 is wolframalpha integration, as silly as that sounds. Once this grapher moves to the mobile interface I can use Vlingo to search Google for a function, which would be excellent. Now integrate a solver, as wolfdog mentioned, and I'm all set.

Or, you know, just let me search wolframalpha from Google. Still, this is cool.

posted by monkeymadness at 7:03 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Awesome. Now can someone get the Batman Equation into a Googleable form?
posted by ZsigE at 7:14 AM on December 10, 2011

Batman.
posted by cip at 7:45 AM on December 10, 2011 [14 favorites]

Google Blue.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:45 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeti, what's exciting is that the 'we' in
we can do it inside a web browser,
is orders of magnitude larger than the 'we' in
stuff we could do with Gnuplot.
Calculation and programming are becoming much more demotic. I think that creating a spreadsheet (with at least one formula) is a form of programming. Simple, yes, but programming none the less. The existence of spreadsheets changed the number of people who have programmed from the 10,000s to the 1,000,00s.

My analogy is a wealthy European in the 17th century saying "What's so exciting about this printing press? We already have plenty of books to read from the scribes."
posted by benito.strauss at 7:49 AM on December 10, 2011 [4 favorites]

Is Texas Instruments in trouble or what?
posted by Lisitasan at 7:52 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

So, stuff we could do with Gnuplot (or similar software) in the 80s or 90s is now exciting again because we can do it inside a web browser.

Yeah, but MefiBBS had a busy signal half the time back then, so it was impossible to discuss it.
posted by swift at 8:14 AM on December 10, 2011

That's pretty cool, I guess, even if it's playing catch-up to Wolfram. FWIW making crazy plot pictures in Wolfram is a thing that some people do.

From here.
posted by codacorolla at 9:17 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]

Sadly, it doesn't seem to plot the gamma function, which would be kind of useful. gamma(x) just plots a line whose slope is 0.577216 (Euler's gamma constant). It'd also be nice if it could do parametric graphs (x and y in terms of t). Implicit plots would also be pretty useful (e.g. x^2+y^2=1 for a unit circle), but those are a little more tricky.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:22 AM on December 10, 2011

No complex numbers, or am I doing something wrong?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:17 PM on December 10, 2011

I just tried it in five browsers under Windows 7. It works in Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

Doesn't show up in Safari for iPad. Oh well, I was looking forward to consuming some math plots.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:02 PM on December 10, 2011

My analogy is a wealthy European in the 17th century saying "What's so exciting about this printing press? We already have plenty of books to read from the scribes."

I think the analogy is a bit off, especially since Gnuplot is *free*. Anyone who can install a web browser on their computer should be able to install a plotting package. And unlike Google, Gnuplot is not dependent on advertising for its continued existence.

My fear is that users are becoming less and less empowered, less likely to search out and discover and install useful programs, just letting the engineers at Google do everything, leading to even more of a "morlock/eloi" type of division.

Also there's a matter of just plain efficiency - it takes a lot of megawatts to operate those Google server farms, and I've got a couple of gigahertz worth of CPU sitting on my lap ... why not use it for something more than just rendering AJAX?
posted by crazy_yeti at 7:00 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think the analogy is a bit off, especially since Gnuplot is *free*. Anyone who can install a web browser on their computer should be able to install a plotting package.

On my mac: google search for gnuplot (let's assume I know gnuplot exists...) goes to the gnuplot page. Ok, the page looks like it's from the mid 90s, but there is a download link, with two links for a mac version. Hmm, the first link is dead, the second is in Italian. Most people aren't going to be able to do that. (Not to mention my memory, which to be fair was from ages ago, is that gnuplot is hardly user friendly.)

My mac does, however, come with grapher, which is an awesome little graphing program, so maybe I'm being a bit glib.
posted by aspo at 7:38 PM on December 10, 2011

I can't seem to figure out how to do a cardioid or heart equation graph in google.

posted by twoleftfeet at 3:01 AM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hey, actually I made my own little javascript graphing calculator recently. I posted it to projects here. It's kind of a hack though because you actually enter the equations as Javascript formulas. So sin(x) is would be "return Math.sin(x)". One cool thing, though is that you can do animation using a t parameter, so functions like sin(x*sin(t)) are animated. If you play around with the settings you can do cool stuff like this or this
--

Anyway, this is a lot faster then Wolfram Alpha. It doesn't replace it at all, of course but mostly what I use Wolfram Alpha for is conversions anyway.
So, stuff we could do with Gnuplot (or similar software) in the 80s or 90s is now exciting again because we can do it inside a web browser, requiring broadband connectivity and a lot more resources than it takes to just run software locally?
Uh, why would you need a 'broadband' connection? It's just javascript, it would probably load pretty quickly over a modem. The javascript for my calculator thing is 24 kilobytes, while a GNUPlot download for windows is 1MB and appears to require cygwin.
posted by delmoi at 3:21 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's just javascript, it would probably load pretty quickly over a modem.

JavaScript calculator:
expr=prompt('Formula...(eg: 2*3 + 7/8 )','');if(expr){with(Math){evl=parseFloat(eval(expr))};if(isNaN(evl)){alert('Not a number!')}else{void(prompt('Result:',evl))}}else{void(null)}
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:47 AM on December 11, 2011

It's not showing up in FF under Linux either. Maybe you have to be logged in to Google?
posted by DU at 5:10 AM on December 11, 2011

If you want to do math online, I'd suggest using Sage. Many, many more math functions, plus the ability to do scripting in Python. And you can either "publish" or not if you want to make it public. And you can run it locally if you prefer.
posted by DU at 5:14 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Anyone who can install a web browser on their computer should be able to install a plotting package.

I know you're not saying that sarcastically, yeti, but I get such a smile out of reading it that way. I'm guessing you (and your acquaintances) are "in the 10,000s". I've been teaching Stats to psychology and social science majors lately, and I've noticed that

- Many of them are not at all comfortable with computers.
- Many of them have no desire to become more comfortable with a new computer program, even if it means they have to spend much more time grinding away with their calculators.
- All of them have learned how to and are comfortable with "submitting a question to Google.

requiring broadband connectivity

Vast numbers of people take this as a given these days.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:13 AM on December 11, 2011

DU, are you liking Sage? I need to learn some sort of computer math program, but when I went looking for an (open) one a few years ago all I found was Maxima, whose Lisp roots I didn't connect with. How does it compare to Maple or Mathematica?
posted by benito.strauss at 8:17 AM on December 11, 2011

Sage actually incorporates maxima. It's a meld of, they say, 64+ open source math packages glued together with python. If you know any of those packages you can just use what you know through Sage. If you don't, you don't have to "switch to" packages or anything. You can just do stuff. Watch the videos for more, I'm far from an expert.

How did you not connect with the Lisp roots of Maxima? As soon as I realized it was written in Lisp, I rushed right in to try it and was disappointed it wasn't Lispy at all. At least at the "2+2" level. Maybe lower down?
posted by DU at 9:30 AM on December 11, 2011

Oh, I never got comfortable with Lisp. (I think, like language, there's a critical period. If you don't get Lisp as an undergraduate, most people never get it.)

Thanks, I'll give it a try.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:42 AM on December 11, 2011

No, I mean in what manner did you encouter Lisp in Maxima? It's barely mentioned in the manual and you have do something special to get into "lisp mode", where math stuff seems not work (or maybe I just did it wrong). It seems like just using Maxima wouldn't bring you into contact with Lisp at all.
posted by DU at 9:46 AM on December 11, 2011

Many of them have no desire to become more comfortable with a new computer program

benito.strauss, I realize you are almost certainly right about this. It just makes me sad. I wish people were *encouraged* to become more comfortable using - indeed, even *writing* - software. One of the side-effects I see of the Googlization-of-everything is the reduction in this sort of basic curiosity about computing. And I think this is a trend that is worth trying to fight against!
posted by crazy_yeti at 4:45 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm returning late to this thread, but I love Sage. I went through a number of software packages looking for the right one to teach with and Sage won hands down. You don't even need to learn how to code if you don't want to. It is an excellent package for use in Calculus, Abstract Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, and tons of others. And there's no need to install anything.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:34 AM on December 27, 2011

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