Mission Control

May 22, 2009
The Wolfram|Alpha Team
Posted by

The Wolfram|Alpha control room was very useful during our launch countdown last weekend. We were able to monitor different aspects of our testing at the same time simply by looking up at all the screens on the wall. Here are some more photos of the room.

Working hard and checking out the progress.

Stephen Wolfram explaining the information on the screen.

Checking out the view from above.


That looks awesome. Looks like a neat environment to work in!

Posted by Tjoez May 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I reckon! Wonder if we’re allowed to use these images when we write about WA?

    Posted by DejanSEO May 22, 2009 at 11:25 pm

It’s a very nice room. I suppose it will be used to monitor Alpha from now on.

Is Alpha monitored 24h per day?


Posted by igo May 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Yes it is. I wonder if all the stats and monitors are all custom designed.

    Posted by Cory May 22, 2009 at 5:03 pm

      Yes, all the stats are custom-built in Mathematica. All the code to create them was written in a few days leading up to the launch, possible pretty much only because we created them in Mathematica. What you see on the screens is a Mathematica notebook document configured as a full-screen dynamically updating display.

      Posted by Theodore Gray May 24, 2009 at 8:25 am

That’s like NASA in films. Great!

Posted by brabadu May 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm

that room looks like nasa room…

Posted by oscar May 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Looks like nasa room, how intelligent of you.

    Posted by Oh you... May 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I like the big spinning log projected on the wall.

Posted by apexskier May 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Wow, I would love to work at Wolfram when I leave education. That looks awesome(and Mathematica looks REALLY good if only it were cheaper :P

Posted by Eliot Ball May 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I am so jealous of anyone that works there. It seriously does look like Mission Control for NASA–as seen in the movies.

Additionally, the processing power of them supercomputers is enough to make you …drool.

Posted by Jason Rybka May 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Looks like a mini rocket launch session in progress to me. Great Work. I just ran a couple of queries on your server farm. Impressed with the result. One example was x + y = 9, where the result was a plot of the line. A personal discontent was that wolfram|alpha was not able to plot my timeline as it did for Obama and Einstein…

Posted by Rajeshwaran S P May 22, 2009 at 5:31 pm

There must be a market for a film or TV program covering the launch.even if they started assembling the material now. The overcoming of each particlar problem would be fascinating with the sneaking suspicion that they might not be overcome. Now that it is assured of success there will be more interest.

Posted by Brian Gilbert May 22, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Does anyone else think that when the economy turns around, these people and the awesome capabilities they are creating, is going to lead to a growth and efficiency based upon information fusion into real time actionable knowledge?

Posted by Tom Schaefer May 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Sadly it will take some time for the potential of W|A to be appreciated,

    In ‘The Land of the Blind’, by H.G.Wells, a man that can see, stumbles upon an isolated community of people born blind. He expects that he will be made King.
    In the event he overhears them deciding he is crazy and that the cure is to poke his eyes out. He quickly departs.

    The many adverse reviews saying how stupid W|A is, bear me out. I have told many intelligent people about it and been greeted by most but not all with a lack of interest

    The tipping point will come when those using W|A commercially start knocking the spots off those that don’t.

    It may end the recession not follow it.

    Posted by Brian Gilbert May 23, 2009 at 1:19 am

It looks amazingly great!


Posted by Omar May 22, 2009 at 5:53 pm

very cool

Posted by Sir_Sid May 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm

why that is but a wee shanty compared to AT&Tt noc….the big displays are choice and awesome- good spacing…not overdone. this is human side of it; if and when it really takes off they will have shiopping containers with rack upon rack of servers. crunch those numbers! I think if they take a cue from wiki and really try to get people involved and have some good basic algorithms (maybe a user selectable filter for what algo you want to use). fact is people around the world will contribute to a worthy program and if they can users onboard they will benefit immensely.

Posted by shep May 22, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Nice setup! Green with envy! Great work guys.

Heres a thoughy, I think WA should show me its queries’ chart when I ask “how are you doing?” …another easter egg perhaps? : )

Posted by Nael El Shawwa May 22, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Great idea Nael, that will be awesome.

    Posted by Faraz May 22, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    While waiting for W|A’s query chart you could draw your own. Input to W|A

    wolframalpha.com daily visitors

    Posted by Brian Gilbert May 23, 2009 at 1:24 am

      Could be misunderstood. I meant that a query chart is not available yet as far as I know. Not that W|A was slow in execution.

      Posted by Brian Gilbert May 23, 2009 at 8:40 am

I’ve been at Wolfram’s headquarters a few times. The rest of it ain’t all that cool except for where Theo Gray sits with all his Elements paraphernalia.

Posted by Math Persons May 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Espero que en algun momento salga en español

Posted by Luis Manuel May 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm

If you want to grow rapidly, you must make us surprise in the search experience every day and let us look forward to it.

Posted by gotall May 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm


Posted by sally May 22, 2009 at 10:42 pm

This is amazing. What it takes to work here?

Posted by saiful May 22, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Amazingly Great…………………….

Posted by raghu May 23, 2009 at 1:26 am

such a wonderful job …keep going… do you use Maple version math program ?

Posted by maziati May 23, 2009 at 2:19 am

Yes, I follow W|A from the exact moment they made it public. And witnessed the launch live.
I am telling everybody I know that we are watching the birth of a new era, elevating the use and spreading of kwnoledge exponentialiy for humankind.:-)
I am optimistic and hoping than soon enough it will be in Spanish. The second language in internet.


Posted by Jorge García Gil May 23, 2009 at 3:40 am


Posted by Ghostwriting May 23, 2009 at 5:02 am

Wow is’t amazing!
It looks amazingly great!

Posted by Autovermietung Kiel May 23, 2009 at 5:04 am

you need some windows ;)

Posted by Rob May 23, 2009 at 5:06 am

Wow its science-fiction !

Posted by Ghostwriting May 23, 2009 at 5:21 am

That is really something!

Posted by Karl Roos May 23, 2009 at 9:23 am

Great! its wonderful

Posted by Zahnarzt Kiel May 24, 2009 at 1:02 am

/cynic is that w|a’s NOC or their hosting provider’s NOC. Why would w/a want to waste valuable human resources monitoring simple usage metrics? It doesn’t require w|a to send a snmp alarm haha /cynic

Posted by AW May 24, 2009 at 7:31 am

A Look Inside The Wolfram|Alpha Control Room…

The team at Wolfram|Alpha have unveiled some shots of their control room, used during the testing phase to monitor various aspects of the site as it went live.
It looks more like a scene from NASA mission control than your typical website launch, but p…

Posted by Startup Earth May 24, 2009 at 10:40 am

Great! its wonderful!!!

Posted by Melih Bayram Dede May 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Damn, I envy people like you who don’t need an excuse to go here.

Posted by wut May 24, 2009 at 2:22 am