* *I have been thinking about equal signs lately (The subject of a forthcoming blog entry) and decided to see what *Wolfram|Alpha* thought. Here is my first try.

Wolfram|Alpha Equal Signs - No Instructions

If you give *Wolfram|Alpha *an equation like without instructions*, *it responds with the statement “True”. Essentially it tries to prove an identity and it makes a mistake. The equation is not defined for .* *

If you give* **Wolfram|Alpha *the instructions to show or prove the same equation, you get a similar result, still incorrect.

Wolfram|Alpha - Equal Signs - Show

Wolfram|Alpha Equal Signs - Prove

If you give *Wolfram|Alpha* instructions to **solve** the same equality. You get the following.

Wolfram|Alpha Equal Signs - Solve

This is also incorrect. Since the expression on the left is undefined for , “all values of x” are not solutions.

These questions don’t strike me as too sophisticated to ask *Wolfram|Alpha*. That fact the expression is undefined at is fundamental to our discussions when we introduce function domains in college algebra and plays a large part in the discussion of limits in calculus. I am disappointed.

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## About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.