Ruby, Rails, Firefox, Anime, Mac

This is pretty cool. MSN Search beta solves any polynomial equations you enter into its search box.

I tried with higher degree polynomials but it seems it can only solve up to cubic equations (try x^3 -27 = 0). Quartic equations, like x^4 + 6x^3 – 5x^2 – 10x – 3 = 0, return a vanilla search result page.

Via Neil Turner via Chris Pirillo.

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## 13 Responses to Solving algrebra with MSN Search

brucetct

November 17th, 2004 at 8pm

this is so cool! wonder how far can its calculation go?

Arvind

November 17th, 2004 at 8pm

Just FYI, a quadratic equation is x^2 ! I hope google implements this, I’d rather just search a dictionary, use a calculator and work out advanced alagebra in one search engine :P

Cheah Chu Yeow

November 17th, 2004 at 8pm

I did say “quartic”, not quadratic ;). I passed ‘A’-level Math and Further Math you know. Heh.

Roshambo

November 18th, 2004 at 3am

Of couse, no luck with quintic equations either: 1024x^5 – 2816x^4 + 2816x^3 – 1232x^2 + 220x – 11 = 0.

The cubic eqations seems to lag a bit…do you think if we all entered some at the same time we’d bring the server to it’s knees? Nonetheless, very cool.

Arvind

November 18th, 2004 at 7pm

Doh heh!

David

November 18th, 2004 at 7pm

“…it seems it can only solve up to cubic equations”:

I’d imagine that’s because, if I recall correctly, there are no formulae for finding the roots of polynomials with large powers like there is for quadratics and cubics.

I think there is a general formula for quartics but perhaps Microsoft didn’t implement it [it’s quite horrendous], but Galois showed that it’s impossible to find a general formula for quintic polynomials [and thus higher order polynomials].

David

November 18th, 2004 at 7pm

That’s terrible abuse of the equals sign in the output too:

“Answer: x^3-27=0 = x=3”

“0=x=3”? It makes no sense!

Much better to use the “implies” symbol ⇒ [⇒]:

“Answer: x^3-27=0 ⇒ x=3”

Vinnie Garcia

November 19th, 2004 at 7am

Google’s had a calculator forever. Try this query out for instance.

Cheah Chu Yeow

November 19th, 2004 at 9am

You’d be surprised how few people know about the existence of the Google Calculator. Many times I’ve overheard people trying to bring out the calculator or looking for unit conversion charts/forumulae when their browsers are open right in front of them, and I’ve been tempted to tell them to type it into Google.

TedFox

November 20th, 2004 at 10am

heh.. for awhile there… i thought they were pulling results from the phrases they find on the web… rather then doing their own calculations. teehee.

Dmitry

November 21st, 2004 at 5pm

Oddly enough, no result is returned if the answer is complex (“imaginary”). What’s with that? I can’t be difficult to impliment for a company that’s trying to build a search engine to compete with Google (and, by the way, has more capital than the GDP of many counties).

Ed

November 22nd, 2004 at 3am

The MSN calculator is also limited to real answers too.

Jimmy

November 29th, 2004 at 2pm

Google can do imaginary numbers… They even use one in the example. Try sqrt(-4).