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I think there are at least three different ideas being discussed here:

1/ A web-calculator which does more advanced functions. See http://live.sympy.org/#example and Sage Web Notebooks -- hell even google does quite a few things.

2/ A natural language science search thingie -- i.e. a smart algorithm which understands what data to shoot at you given your query. (query recognition ML? NLP?)

3/ An open source / community-editable platform for editing scripts for 2/.

I can imagine there are some interesting lessons about machine learning and NLP to be learned from such a project. In particular 3/ seems like a good thing to have in general: functional modules (transformations?) which take some input data and produce another type of data.

The components 1/, 2/ and 3/ above would work really well if restricted to a specific application domain. This way we would have a chance of competing with Wolfram and understand verbs from that domain + use structured data from dbpedia et al.

Very cool. pm me if you are working on any of the above. I would like to help.

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