You’ve heard about search engines, have you heard about Knowledge Engines? How about one built in Africa?
One of my greatest areas of interest in computer science/software engineering has always been massively scaled systems. You know, the kind of systems that run Google. It is in this pursuit that some time last year I met Haythal ElFadeel, a young Egyptian who was building a ‘Knowledge Engine’ called Kngine.
And what is a ‘Knowledge Engine’ you might ask? Well, if you’ve heard of or used the Wolfram Alpha, you have some idea. A knowledge engine is more than a search engine. Basically, it is like a search engine that can understand a question given to it in the form of a natural language question (not search terms) like ‘who is the president of the United States?‘ and provide an answer.
Why is this even important? Helloooo!? Well, I think this is a great example of ‘non status quo innovation’ coming out of Africa. Normally when people talk of ‘innovation in Africa’ our minds immediately drift off towards ICT4D or mobile technology. Here’s an example of a startup that’s doing something totally innovative and at the ‘cutting edge’.