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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Still Hard at Work!

May 20, 2009 —
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We are constantly monitoring the vital signs of Wolfram|Alpha, and have been since the moment it went live. Traffic has held strong, with a sustained rate of hundreds of requests per second from all continents, and we’re now able to fine-tune our systems in ways that weren’t possible with simulated traffic.

We found that in some regions the site was not as responsive as it could be, and we are now in the process of rebalancing the load and continuing to problem-solve networking issues.

To date, we have made substantial progress on solving issues with our network, DNS, hardware, web server configuration, and databases.

As we continue testing Wolfram|Alpha, we’ve noticed that users occasionally receive a “Slow Script” warning when rendering Wolfram|Alpha pages. We hope to have a fix for this problem soon.

Please drop us a note if you experience performance snags or possible browser incompatibilities.


There seem to be no problem for me yet. Amazing service though.

Posted by Demon May 20, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Keep up the great work guys! I haven’t experienced any problems so far! (other then a few Space Odyssey references during load testing…)

Posted by Joseph McLaughlin May 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm

I would like to see a graph of requests per day since startup.

Posted by Brian Gilbert May 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Very responsive down in Mexico. I’m 64 and my company became the 8th Commodore dealer in the UK so many years ago. Thus it’s fair to say that I’ve seen a lot go past since then. This has to be one of the most exciting developments ever seen in 30 years of personal computing!

Posted by PaulH May 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Can you put a blog up on that monitoring setup you have, and how it was put together? (software wise)

The setup that is shown in the Wolfram|Alpha Status Update May 16, 2009 video is amazing.

Posted by TheZolon May 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm

There are some browser incompabilities on IE5.5, IE6.0 and some others. Check the screens from ;


Posted by zafer May 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm

A few guesses about your special sauce, and maybe some ideas for the future if you’re not doing these things already (some of them, I know you’re not doing):

It’s a valiant effort for certain, and it’s nice to see those pre-AI winter technologies actually solving real problems.

Posted by Scott Locklin May 20, 2009 at 6:57 pm

i’m still new to this service…
but keep up the good work…

Posted by Pulsa murah May 20, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I love how Wolfram|Alpha lets you in on the interesting technical details. Very interesting for a geek like me. :-)

Posted by Cory May 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Glad to hear you’re on top of the “slow script” warnings. We at Mozilla had been wondering whose fault those were:

Posted by Jesse Ruderman May 20, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Here’s a strange performance issue I’ve noticed. Enter 10000! The input, along with the first two outputs indicating the truncated result and the number of digits appear fine. The next output times out. In particular, the decimal approximation (which appears for 1000!) never appears. This seems odd, since N[10000!, 66] runs in Mathematica on my machine almost instantaneously.

Posted by Mark McClure May 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

love it… amazing how you even get movie references for stuff like 88mph

Posted by sam fregly May 20, 2009 at 9:49 pm

How do I get a list of something like the USA GDP for the last 10 years?

Posted by Ken Swisz May 20, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    usa gdp year 2001 works.

    Repeat changing year as required. You will be asked to indicate if you want ‘Economic data rather than ‘International Data;

    Posted by Brian Gilbert May 21, 2009 at 1:39 am

Oh,,,this web is very looooong time loading…

Posted by Wahyu Awaludin May 21, 2009 at 1:59 am

The large result pages (like this:^2+cos x +sin x +dx) are scrolled painfully slow on my box. I use Firefox 3.0.10. Maybe it’s irrelevant (it could be the problem of some of my add-ons or something), but still, I’d be glad if you paid attention to it.

Thanks for the great work!

Posted by Hades May 21, 2009 at 2:12 am

    took 2 secs to do that one here

    Posted by Whizadree May 21, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Impressed, especially with the maths stuff. (so much so that I was surprised that it didn’t understand “area under the graph of” rather than “integral of”, which was quite unreasonable of me.)

There is still a bit of joining up to do in the chemistry section but much of the info is in there.

Posted by paddy May 21, 2009 at 2:45 am

    an integral represents much more than the area between a function’s plot and the x-axis

    Posted by mikey May 21, 2009 at 11:25 am

I am completely fascinated with this, and the possibilities it brings to light. Having done work with primitive AI attempts, I would love to plug this tool into some software and see what it does.

Posted by Isaac Rockett May 21, 2009 at 4:02 am

> browser incompatibilities

Drop down menus with arrow on left are broken in Opera browser, but not drop down menus with arrow on right works fine.

– menu broken
– menu works fine

Posted by mr.m. May 21, 2009 at 4:20 am

    maybe the extreme gravity causes the menu to break

    Posted by Whizadree May 21, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Ken: “what is the gdp in us the last 10 years”

Posted by Henrik May 21, 2009 at 5:04 am

Sub queries are as important to W|A as subroutines in a computer program.
So far the emphasis has been on simple questions though the answers are often limmense..

But there is a need for answers to complex questions such as “What is the cost of manufacturing a Ford Pinto”.

So we want to be able within a query to include sub-queries and they in turn to do the same.For example:-
Subquery1: Material Costs for Ford Pinto
Subquery2: Labour Costs for Ford Pinto
……..hundreds more subqueries,,,
and the final query would combine the answers:-
(Subquery1) plus (Subquery2) ……..?


A question frequently fails because it needs curated data or logic that W|A does not yet have. Stephen Wolfram expects it to take ten years to get close to overcoming this. It may also fail because W|A can not understand a particular word.

The solution is for W|A to ask the questioner what W|A is to assume in the particular case as a workaround .

A question could take the form “What is the sum of x plus y plus z?
W|A would reply “I don’t know the value of Z.”
The questioner would amend the question replacing z by tan absolute value.
If there were many such items the questioner might be allowed to give the name of a data field in his user profile and W|A would use that data.

Posted by Brian Gilbert May 21, 2009 at 6:30 am

this seems really good for me , no probleme :D , i juste wana thank you for your great innovation

Posted by oussama May 21, 2009 at 7:00 am

Why doesn’t it show my IP when I ask for it? It’s so essential!

Anyways, good work – after the release I can see more and more work you’ve put in guys!

Posted by Essay Writer May 21, 2009 at 7:51 am

It seems to me that you are now faster than the first day :)


Posted by Omar May 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

Good luck guys, wrote on how to add your services into web browser to help you out.

Keep it up

Posted by Vygantas May 21, 2009 at 10:53 am

If I search for Scotland I get ‘assuming Scotland is a historical country’, then ‘input representation’ give me ‘Kingdom of Scotland’, dates 843 to 1707.

Mmm, this must be a different Scotland from the Scotland I’m sitting in at the moment. I know a lot of Scottish web folk who’re rather annoyed at the moment.

Also, I know the info returned is pretty basic but all I get for Queen Victoria is her full name and dates of birth and death. Shouldn’t there be info of where she was queen of?

Where’s the info coming from? Heriot-Watt university wasn’t founded in 1881 nor was the Scottish Agricultural College founded in 1906.

Also, if you search for the Earl of …, you get info on how many people are called Earl in the US at the moment and looking for info on the Duke of Windsor refers you to the city ‘Windsor’ or the university ‘Duke’

Posted by Marilyn Mullay May 21, 2009 at 10:57 am

sterling pound comes up with flight times between cities- ditto kronar!
hard to input equations using fibonacci
atoms in universe?- no answer(!)
lonrho (on Aim) comes up inapposite

Posted by perry May 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

Respected sir !
Really amazing sir ! I am not enough age to wish you ! but i will give royal salute to your hard work !

Posted by krishna May 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm


Posted by Dr Derek Lynch, Ireland May 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Congrats my geek friends! Brazil is pleasead to announce that Wolfram is running perfectly! Thanks for this project!

Posted by Amure Pinho May 21, 2009 at 3:46 pm