Counting Down

May 15, 2009
shadow
The Wolfram|Alpha Launch Team
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We’re in the final stages of our “countdown” to be able to launch Wolfram|Alpha. It is an exciting time here in the control room. The team here is gearing up to finally go live, and the energy in the room is palpable.

countdown

As you’d fully expect, our teams are full-court-press resolving network, infrastructure, database, and all sorts of other challenges, made particularly interesting by the sheer scale and complexity of launching two supercomputer-class clusters along with three other locations.

One of the biggest challenges we’re navigating today is effectively linking our supercomputers together. We’ve been switching on more and more compute capacity, with the expectation of having full capacity available on Monday.

Tonight, we’re looking to begin to test the system on a larger scale, get a sense of how it will behave, and continue performance tuning.

We’re also looking forward to seeing you this evening live on justin.tv.

Oh… and we’re in Illinois, and we just heard that we’re under a tornado watch.

It will be an interesting evening!

146 Comments

very nice, can’t wait

Posted by Mistah Omsn May 15, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    omfg I’ve been wating forever for this site and you still cant use it. Whats going on here am I missing something??? you go to the homepage rite?

    Posted by bill lu May 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    wow what a feeling, can’t wait…
    best wishes from germany to you guys…

    Posted by Rob May 15, 2009 at 7:44 pm

can’t wait!

Posted by sean May 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm

well done team.excellent concept and great thinking.real service to humankind.congratulations.
what the worlds leading govts could not even think of you have done it.

Posted by ali jaffery May 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm

We are all so excited, too.
Wishing you all the best for the launch!

Posted by silw May 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm

The first 24 hours will be the most complex hours for the website, so hope that everything goes well as I’m expected!

Good luck!

Posted by Monir May 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Good luck!

Posted by David Hajek May 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Nice, hope everything goes smoothly. Looking forward to the launch!

Posted by Angus May 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm

It’s almost 01:00 here in Sweden, so I hope you will be successfull. I’m staying up just to try this out. :)

Posted by Martin May 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm

yay go ape!

Posted by dave gibbon May 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

so excited

Posted by Patryn May 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Break a leg! Signed, John Connor
Seriously good luck!

Posted by Rocky Barbanica May 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I’m exciting for fue launch!
Good luck.

Posted by HuangLu May 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I really can’t wait to have a go.

Posted by Richard Kimber May 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Amazing!

Posted by immi May 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Alll systems standing by ! UK is patched in :]

Biffer

Posted by Biffer May 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Yey! Looking forward to it. Only 57-minutes left now …may watch a TV show.

Posted by Jason Rybka May 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Shouldn’t this have gone live 3 minutes ago?

Posted by NC May 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm

All the very best with the launch…really looking forward to it!!!! BREAK A LEG!

Posted by Mathew Winsor May 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm

woah!!!

im thrilled… but waiting patiently… painstaking effort is followed by great succcess …

waiting to compute and not search…

i have questions(not keywords) lined up for almost a week, 24/7 … waiting for answers and not results …

All the best!!!

:)

Posted by firdaus haque May 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm

looking forward to this amazing service!
will there eventually be an api to query?

-seltar

Posted by yonas May 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Good Luck!!!

Posted by Peter Shenkin May 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Good luck to all of you from Bermuda! Looking forward to my first query,
Tim

Posted by Tim Hulse May 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Can’t wait!

Posted by C.R. Chandler May 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Awesome. I’m excited to finally be able to use this awesome tool soon!!

Posted by Jimmy Bard May 15, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Where in Illinois is Wolfram based?

Posted by Bad at Sports May 15, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Wow! Best of luck to you… Looking forward to it.

Posted by Dean May 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm

I am thinking what our children will think about this extraordinary leap forward.
In fact it is brain booster which is going to be launched tonight.
Hope the unknowns of human being will become less while such a powerful tool is under fingertips of those who appreciate it.
God bless you all.

Posted by Reza Besharati May 15, 2009 at 6:39 pm

As a veteran of many datacenter and massive platform launches, I know the sorts of feelings folks are going through over there… some of which aren’t pretty.

Best of luck on a smooth launch!

Posted by Adam May 15, 2009 at 6:41 pm

You just crashed justin.tv with that link.

Posted by Will May 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Every single piece of the WA Project is amazing, even the fact that you are going to go live for the launch … you are an impressive team, Big Time!

Posted by Tommaso Boralevi May 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm

The world awaits in anticipation..

Posted by Leo May 15, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Really looking forward to the site!

Posted by Brandon Bias May 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Waiting to type my first query!!

Posted by Vijay Kiran May 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm

10, 9, 8…

Posted by buki May 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I’m extremely excited! Hope all goes well, best of luck

Posted by Mike Schumacher May 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Good Morning from Germany
It’s almost 2 o’ clock in the morning now, I am really tired, but I can’t hardly wait to test Wolfram Alpha myself. Keeping the fingers crossed, Viel Glück!

Posted by Oliver May 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Ok, guys… I remember when I used to calculate my Fourier transforms with my TI. Nice Job… Thx a lot…

Posted by Fernando Perales May 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

go go go guys!

come on !

Posted by theindoswiss May 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm

It’s not working

Posted by Dave May 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm

so, how about offering real news update? i know now, you are stil not online. thans ok too, but howabout some info why?

we are all waiting. lets avoid a CUIL desaster. go live and document it for all the idiots, who are not live now. the people online now are your fans. win them for your cause, despite the delay. lose them, and SEO’s wrath will join your path unfortunatelly.

Posted by Patrick C. Price May 15, 2009 at 7:06 pm

I need this to… GO! Go please. Now.

Posted by Robin Spencer Lee May 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm

what happened?

Posted by Nicolas Izurrategui May 15, 2009 at 7:08 pm

I’m very much looking forward to this.

Posted by Chris Gelatt May 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm

good luck!!! crossing fingers

Posted by itay May 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm

#Wolframalphafail !! ;)

Posted by Adrian May 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm

not working :(

Posted by eric May 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm

why i can’t use it now?

Posted by gotall May 15, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I-L-L

Posted by Garry May 15, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Greetings from Germany !

Shouldn´t the site be up now ?

I still cant use it :( is stayed up so long :/

Posted by Sebastian May 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Its nearly 30 years since I shocked my tutor by producing 15 lines of basic that would take any english comment and deduce whether yes or no was meant – last year I learnt it was in fact an application of Wolframs theories! So now I want more…

Posted by Mattinblack May 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Buena suerte con el proyecto! – Good luck!

Posted by Infested May 15, 2009 at 7:20 pm

i wait, i have time

Posted by maik May 15, 2009 at 7:21 pm

It’s 7:15…fancy happening time?

Posted by moi May 15, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Yeah! I made the running! Nice bug, guys :D

Posted by meMPhiS2k May 15, 2009 at 7:21 pm

w00t! eating and anticipating!

Posted by CasperJoe May 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Everything OK guys, we are kind of waiting with baited breath here…

Posted by NV May 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Its 7:28PM CST . . .

Posted by SN42 May 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Hello, I’m waiting to see what you’ve done here….I just found out about Wolfram TODAY! And it has me very excited. I hope it doesn’t go down with the enormous quantity of visitors…good luck! It’s 9.27 pm here in Argentina, and I’m constantly trying to use it.

Again, good luck with this and greetins from Argentina :D

Posted by mariano crivelli from argentina May 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Amazing technology, all the best for the start from Berlin

Posted by Samir May 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Wolfram = R.I.P. 7:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Posted by Dave May 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Hope things are going ok. Site seems a bit slammed. When will video start?

Posted by Derek May 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

good luck!

beat the crap out of the other crawlers…

Posted by w May 15, 2009 at 7:34 pm

It would be nice if you could explain why the launch has been delayed.

Posted by Graham May 15, 2009 at 7:34 pm

* drumming fingers on side of keyboard *

Posted by Asher Abrams May 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

is it on now? I don’t see anything. :(

Posted by e May 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I thought so too. According to CST is it 1929 hrs now.

Posted by McoreD May 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

cant connect at 8:38 edt from dc darn

Posted by chuck May 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Launch asap…

why so much delay..

fix the problem asap.

Posted by umesh shaw May 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm

G’day everyone at WA from here in Tasmania, Australia!! Can’t get the link yet but will keep trying. Good luck on this fantastic project!!! Cheers!

Posted by ken erger May 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Launch asap…

why so much delay..

fix the problem asap.

visit http://www.myshortcut.net for just in websites

Posted by umesh shaw May 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Wanted my first search to be “probability and timeframe when the WA site will launch,” but wouldn’t you know, the site isn’t up yet for me to run the search.

You are aware your servers have been slashdotted, yes?

Posted by Jeff May 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Launch asap.

visit http://www.myshortcut.net for just in websites

Posted by umesh May 15, 2009 at 7:43 pm

So….. anticipation for nothing. Is it available only in some spots, but worldwide on the 18th i’m confused?

Posted by Guy May 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Another ‘small’ step! Best to all the team.

Regards,

Myke

Posted by Myron Bergenske May 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

It’s past 8pm Eastern time and I still can’t ask it any questions :(

What gives? What did you mean by “Friday, May 15, beginning at 7pm CST”? I’m watching the video but I just want to try it!

Posted by theanphibian May 15, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Guy, where did you get that info from?

Posted by steve May 15, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Good luck! You’ll sure make history on the web! Thanks for the great idea!

Posted by Joao Ribeiro Jr May 15, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Waow, it works!

It could have been otherwise:

Crashes are common, but some get protection by guv’mint..

Tony Collins and David Bicknell,:’ Crash – Ten easy ways to avoid a computer disaster” , Simon & Schuster, 1997

p. 13
Success breads success, as the cliché goes. by the same logic does disaster bread disaster? If so, this might explain why computer failures are so common.

p. 343
Disaster avoidance is not a science. It is the elimination of error through trial [...] Computerization is still an art form that is best practiced by those who have learned from their own painful mistakes.

George Soros, “The Crash of 2008 and what it means – The New Paradigm for Financial Markets”, New York, Public Affairs, 2009

back cover
On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers wall allowed to go into bankruptcy without proper preparation. Within days, the entire financial system suffered what amounted to cardiac arrest and had to be put on artificial life support.

p. 220
Central to Soros’ world view is the idea thar
human affairs – events with thinking participants have a fundamentally different structure from natural phenomena
==>
p. 146
paraphrase: fractional-reserve banking must be protected, or made crash-proof, at all cost
text; the institutions, engaged in credit creation, must accept the fact that they are being protected by the authorities

Posted by Ivo Cerckel May 15, 2009 at 8:03 pm

UK time +1:10 hour past launch (02:10 local). Not up yet.

I guess that the site is a victim of over popularity. That HAS to be an indication in the expectations of the entire planet – too many people can’t wait to try it.

The back room geeks are probably tearing their hair out right now trying to figure out how to get it up. I hope that they also realise what a success this is going to be once things quieten down to a ‘normal’ load. If the intro video is anything to go by, I can’t wait.

Posted by Paul G May 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Very disappointing – looks like its populated for pure sciences, but not social sciences

Posted by Tom Ledoux May 15, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Very bold move to go live with the site launch!
I know you will fix the problem and admire your courage. Best of luck.

Posted by nayden May 15, 2009 at 8:11 pm

OK, google never had this problem (or they hid it well). Get this stupid thing running, you bunch of eggheads (or hire someone with social skills to placate the ones that do). WAITING…. forget a decimal point somewhere?

Posted by meeeeeeee May 15, 2009 at 8:11 pm

my first query will be “how many impatient internet users are there?”

Posted by mike May 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Unless there’s something I’m missing, the program has been up for well over 45 minutes now.

Posted by Baris McKenna May 15, 2009 at 8:17 pm

still unable to use WA will keep trying…all the best to all

Posted by alain May 15, 2009 at 8:17 pm

It is really bad form to announce a launch and not even test your systems beforehand and then have everyone log in to see a video stream that stutters and goes out completely.

What a waste of everyone’s time.

Posted by aphexcoil May 15, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Yup… lame. Over-hyped, under-executed.

    Posted by Will May 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm

is this show still for (only) for the americans

Posted by alain May 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm

watch the video at http://www.wolfram.com/broadcast/wolframalpha/ and you will see what is going on… it will happen… just be patient…

Posted by adam May 15, 2009 at 8:23 pm

que se entromete el tornado en estas cosas. Tengan suerte

Posted by eduardo May 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm

bummed. facesbooked it, twittered it never got to see it work. hope it can scale someday.

Posted by mike May 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm
Posted by tfitz May 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm

this will help heaps with my chemistry assignments…..

and also my very ridiculosly hard maths.

Posted by Matt May 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm

nearly 10pm EDT and nothing. hmm…

Posted by bryan May 15, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Just go with the launch – knowledge to be computed will always be in advance of the computer!?

Posted by charlie May 15, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Sincere Congratulations! Thanks to the Internet, thanks to your great idea and your efficient efforts as well as unselfish contributions, we can enjoy human knowledge better and faster with your website , to be sure. Looking forward eagerly to your launching now.
All the best to you and your staff from China !

Posted by Zhuzhu May 15, 2009 at 8:50 pm

WOW ! SHIFT HAPPENS! THIS IS THE REVOLUTION I WAS WAITING 4. MATH BOOKS WRITERS … AND MATH TEACHERS … FINALLY SOMETHING WILL CHALLENGE THE SYSTEM! HOPEFULLY PROBLEM SOLVING WILL BE THOUGHT IN MATH CLASSES … NOT PARROT(MONKEY) MATHEMATICS. FINALLY MATH TEACHERS WILL START THINKING ABOUT CREATING RELEVANT MATH PROBLEMS THAT CAN’T BE SOLVED USING WOLFRAMALPHA! I’M HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY. I’M IN ECSTASY! SO… EXCITING! Congratulations!

Posted by Paul May 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

thank you tfitz

Posted by gstm May 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm

This system is going to crash and crash under the weight of expectation.

Posted by charlie May 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Am I missing something?

When will this be up?!

Posted by Osman May 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Great job guys! This is really an amazing idea. Keep up the good work!

Posted by Stephen May 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

pair back on the philosophical expectations and launch/post the pragmatic search engine

Posted by charlie May 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Thanks tfitz. That link worked for me for about 5 minutes, but now it seems to not be working. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Posted by Cole NeSmith May 15, 2009 at 9:04 pm

It is past 9pm CST, and still not working from here in CANADIA :P

Posted by Joachim May 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Hmm, non event this is! Was advertised in our local paper as being bigger than Google!!

Posted by Mike P May 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm

9:19 CST. still no go ..

Posted by zlich May 15, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Guuuys…. HEY! You have to update the INDEX file for the search engine! People are STUCK waiting for the input to start working.
I just discovered i have to add /input/ at the end of the address for it to work…

It’s 11:20PM here in Brazil and i thought i’d have to wait to see this tomorrow!

Posted by Erik May 15, 2009 at 9:22 pm

It will come in time…..in the mean time i’m poping bubble wrap from Desktop Bubble Wrap – http://www.desktopbubblewrap.com ….but i’m still hanging out for it….and googles version being launched later this year.

Posted by Andrew May 15, 2009 at 9:23 pm

It is 7:22 P. M. PDT. The live broadcast makes it sound like the system is up but there does not seem to be a way to enter a query. Am I missing something?

Posted by John May 15, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I know what you guys are trying to pull off is very tough. I applaud your boldness for attempting such a feat live. Certainly not typical of most scientists and engineers and especially IT folk. Don’t listen to the impatient and rude pricks. I for one am very excited but am willing to wait. You guys are heroes!

Posted by Keith May 15, 2009 at 9:32 pm

HI
GOD LUCK.

Posted by jiri May 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Good luck, I’m very excited for the launch!

Posted by Allison Davis May 15, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Thanks for launching Wolfram|Alpha.

Tried a few questions and didn’t get much useful info. And then I tried the Wired article “How many Nobel Prize winners were born under a full moon?” and caught Alpha crashing
“Sorry, Wolfram Alpha is temporarily unavailable. Please try again.”

Well, it is a rough start. I am looking forward to see it working well. I will give it some time.

In the mean time, I am enjoying Stephen’s talk at Berkman center
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TIOH80Qg7Q

P.S. The talk is cool, but I still need to see Alpha running and answering users’ questions. Good luck.

Posted by Kempton May 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm

The main wesite http://www.wolframalpha.com/index.html is not accepting input…

Posted by Amol May 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I’m watching your webcast of the launch. Stephen is wondering why you are not seeing more traffic. Well, one reason could be that your basic input page at http://www.wolframalpha.com/index.html is not accepting input!!!! I keeping getting the ‘Launching May 2009′ in the input box.

Posted by Bill Cavnar May 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm

what happened?

Posted by gotall May 15, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Nothing working in Rochester NY

Posted by rochestarian May 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

working intermittently in Austin, Tx

Posted by Zac May 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Not working in Tucson, AZ

Posted by John May 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Working in Minneapolis

Posted by Craig Newstrom May 15, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Not picking it up so far in Manhattan.

Posted by Kelly May 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Now Working in Vancouver! Hurrah!

Posted by Andrew May 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

haha, it is OK!

Posted by gotall May 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I take that back. Live in NYC!

Posted by Kelly May 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

no joy from New York City, even after purging browser cache.

Posted by Dan May 15, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Was using backdoor and query performance was good. The moment you went live, everything slowed right now. It would take 1 min to get 2+2. Around the time that you mentioned logging got disconnect, queries sped right back up.

Posted by Andrew May 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

very cool but not working in wisconsin…

Posted by claire May 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I think a lot of people are misunderstanding what this experience is about. It is about trying something new. New doesn’t always work the first time. Let’s see what happens over the next 24 hours.

Posted by questionswork May 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

It is working now, Just had to restart the browser.

Posted by rochestarian May 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Hey NV, you’ve got baited breath? Must smell like fish. The expression is “waiting with bated breath.” as in bate — to restrain. Too funny.

Posted by NV-not May 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Manhattan booted off. That’s okay, glad to see it working at all. Look forward to seeing it become more robust–in every way.

Posted by Kelly May 15, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Almost entirely I’m getting that WA doesn’t know what to do with my input.

Posted by Kelly May 15, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Working most of the time near Boston MA!
I’m quite impressed. Granted, it doesn’t work as flexibly as I expected, but this is still a powerful proof of concept and an extremely useful tool.

I wouldn’t call it a “google killer”, simply because that’s not what it’s trying to do.

Can’t wait to see what gets added!

Posted by Daedalus May 15, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I got on briefly before WA failed to respond again…but what I saw in that 1 minute was amazing. The pure density of relevant information for a gene query (eg, APOE) was remarkable! Looking forward to learning more with WA.

Posted by Gary May 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Working in Northern VA.
This is amazing! It can be picky about queries, but other than that it’s stunning. I’m excited to see how this will develop further.

Posted by Billy May 15, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Please Dr Wolfram throw some more compute cycles at her, getting a “Sorry Dave, can’t do that beyond capacity” message.

What i saw was flippin brilliant!

Sydney NSW Australia.

Posted by Taree May 16, 2009 at 12:11 am

All the best !!!!

Posted by Aradhana Dimri May 16, 2009 at 12:42 am

Best wished from city of Wuhan, China! I am waiting for it!

Posted by WingKing May 16, 2009 at 1:35 am

nice job guys – it’s amazing!

Posted by Bankkonditionen May 16, 2009 at 3:42 am

Great job!!!

Posted by Doctor May 16, 2009 at 3:42 am

Thanks for developing a great research tool for the Internet. Good Luck!

Posted by Nat May 16, 2009 at 3:54 am

What is going on with the launch? I know you have problems. Why not tell us about them?
The only explanation I found on the net was that the problem was the failure of two systems to work together as expected. How about running initially on one system?

Posted by Brian Gilbert May 16, 2009 at 4:45 am

Works oh-so-beautifully here in Australia.

What a concept. I’m blown. It even has accurate data on my tiny home town of Byron Bay…

Posted by Yari May 16, 2009 at 7:01 am