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The Wolfram|Alpha Launch Team

Wolfram|Alpha Status Update

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Wolfram|Alpha continues to move forward. We’ve learned lots over the course of our performance testing and can share that directly with you.



Posted by Thusanthan May 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm

very good

Posted by gotall May 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Congrats on successful launch wolfram alpha,how do I call and write ” wolfram|aplha” as wolpram alpha or wolfram|alpha

Posted by venkat May 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    There is this interesting part in one of the FAQs about writing the name:

    In a two-color rendering, just give each of the two words different colors, with no space in between. In a one-color rendering, separate the words with a vertical bar ( | ).

    Posted by BoLe May 17, 2009 at 1:24 am

How about during performance testing before you launch and not AS you launch? Wolfram alpha is an important project with lots of potential but you are in danger of creating a negative reaction due to a botched launch. How about these ideas:

1. Take all vanity search queries (probably around 90% of your queries) and redirect to google when you can’t compute it. Cache these and redirect directly without trying to compute.

2. Open up alpha only to .edu and .org domains to get more serious users and not vanity random folks who will search for Britney and sex. This is how facebook launched – colleges first.

3. Require users to register with a real email – this will make the random vanity searchers go away but will be used by serious users who want to compute stuff.

I hope you’ll find these ideas useful.

Posted by voldemor May 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    1. I agree, but then what’s the point of WolframAlpha if “possibly” the majority of the time it’ll be redirecting to Google?
    2. I would agree partially. Open to professors maybe, but students, I would assume majority’ll probably look for Britney and sex anyway. LOL Also, why only EDU, there are a lot of us out there who are seriously testing W|A and not just having fun. Don’t exclude us.
    3. I would highly recommend this too.

    I’ll add a thought of my own.
    After a day of testing on my own, it seems that the load servers aren’t quite as ready as it needs to be. Maybe plan on adding more servers to handle the load before you even think about going for the full launch. You need to be able to keep current number of queries at less than 5% load before jumping ahead. I would hate to see another epic “Cuil” launch.

    Posted by Mark Wendall May 16, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Dont you think they have been performance load testing before launch aswell? The will have got invaluable data back from this past weekend, they never could have from just beta beta releasing it. Ironic name “Alpha” for software dev of course :).

    Guess what, its stable now isn’t it after just a couple of days of release!

    Posted by c pou May 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm

guys, 30% of users getting bad results is not OK. You need to be at 99.9% . With all this fancy mission control NASA style room – couldn’t you had your stats server operational before accepting queries and not after it? Come on – get your act together for the better of mankind

Posted by voldemor May 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Have some respect. It’s not like they’re happy with those with those results and just sitting back, twiddling their thumbs. They’re obviously working their asses off and they’re trying their best. And if you don’t recall correctly, the official launch date is Monday, so if you’re not happy, go judge them on the 18th.

    In any news, I’m loving Wolfram|Alpha, but it does need work. Also, I would think that adding a list of the required syntax needed to get the user’s wanted results would be a good idea. Many times I’ve typed in a query and found that it would’ve worked if I’d typed it differently. All things considered, I think Wolfram|Alpha is going well for the progress made so far.

    By the way, godspeed with the Ancient Rome data curation(sp?) process.

    Posted by Sean C. May 17, 2009 at 12:35 am

    I was irritated at first but then remembered I had been told I was being allowed to watch the usually painful process of installing a system and that it was not expected to go live until Monday. I am surprised how fast the problems are being solved and I mean the installation problems.

    The video at the top of this page for example is a huge improvement on the first webcast. In oarticular it pauses first time if you have low bandwith on your internet connection but you can replay it without the pauses as it has been downloaded to your own PC. That could not be done with the first webcast on Justin TV.

    Welcome HAL or is it WHAL?

    Posted by Brian Gilbert May 17, 2009 at 1:50 am

    99.9%???!!! Think about that. What database will ever have 99.9% of what people want to know?

    Posted by Hilarious May 17, 2009 at 8:11 am

80 queries per seconds? I would’ve expected higher. Hmm……

Posted by Mark Wendall May 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I’m not so sure, is this talking about the number of queries executed per search/second? Or the number of actual serches performed.

    Posted by adaimespechip May 21, 2009 at 4:14 am

Keep up the transparency, guys!

Posted by Chris Thomson May 16, 2009 at 10:45 pm

?????????????Go on and push Chinese version.

Posted by Wolfram Fans May 16, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I think it’s awesome that you guys are keeping us all in the loop with Wolfram|Alpha’s progress. I agree that it’s still kind of rough at times, but I think it’s an awesome project, and I hope to hear more soon. It’s refreshing to see a team keeping its community aware of the steps it’s taking. Thanks for Wolfram|Alpha!

Posted by Dillon May 16, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Wolframalpha should solve the Feedback quickly 🙂

Posted by Musicismylife May 16, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Working much better in Berkeley today. Yesterday was a lagfest.

Posted by jim May 16, 2009 at 11:21 pm

got a couple of botched queries, but the ones that went through were fantastic. thanks for keeping us all in the loop.

Posted by 3ntropy May 17, 2009 at 12:00 am

What you guys aren’t considering is how much computational power it takes to process these queries. This isn’t like Google or Cuil needing to search through an index and return simple data, this requires using multiple algorithms (all of which are likely as process intensive or more so than a search algorithm) to decipher what the search is asking, and then process the necessary data (also process intensive) and return the result.

And as for voldemor’s suggestions:
1. Caching would be a problem, since the database and algorithms (and therefore answerable questions) will be improving over time. I would suggest giving the user a message like “We couldn’t figure out what you wanted, do you want to search google instead?”
2. That would go against the point of Wolfram|Alpha. W|A is not designed to be a resource only to educations institutes and students, it’s meant to be a resource for everyone. What most people aren’t realizing is that W|A is supposed to be a serious resource akin to having a fully searchable database of common knowledge (and not so common knowledge) readily available, and capable of using that knowledge to give you useful results.
3. Once again, registration would pose a problem. W|A is supposed to be fully open for everyone to use. I can understand needing some way to avoid bots making thousands of queries, or other abusive use of the website, but forcing the public to do something like signing up with a valid email address is unnecessarily complicating things.

To finalize: You guys don’t realize that this is just the beginning. The W|A team is planning on improving the site over time. adding more and more functionality as they become more and more proficient at figuring out how to. Just like google has improved itself over the years, and added functionality, so too will W|A.

W|A will never be “complete” because there’s always more data to digest, more to learn about how to make a machine understand a human.

I best that throughout the years as W|A grows, they’ll contribute many algorithms designed solely by their own work on things like linguistics, and other highly complex algorithms.

Posted by Bobbias May 17, 2009 at 1:29 am

You are doing a superb job, congratulations.

You deserve a million thank you!

Posted by igo May 17, 2009 at 2:14 am

too good search engine. but you need to grow up the system. I loved the wolfram alpha.

Posted by Serhat KOCAK May 17, 2009 at 5:26 am

integrate arctan (x^2) dx solved too good

Posted by Serhat KOCAK May 17, 2009 at 5:29 am

Fantastic! But I first tried my home City of Wausau, Wisconsin, population and got about 3,200 when the actual number is over 38,000, So then I tried the city of Merrill, about 20 miles north which has a population of about 10,000 and got about 3,000, the next City north is Tomahawk with about 3,800 which was correct. Maybe my answers pertained to a rural townships and not to the cities.

Posted by John W. Kelley May 17, 2009 at 8:05 am

Overall I’m extremely impressed, and I really commend you guys for being very “open” about this launch and let us see behind the scenes. It’s a lot of fun!

Posted by Daniel Bigham May 17, 2009 at 8:38 am

15 hours after the launch last night and they still haven’t sorted out the audio.

Anyway, I am enjoying the Wolfram|Alpha experience despite noticing it’s mainly tailored for Americans …hopefully the GBP will come to the units options soon.

Posted by Jason Rybka May 17, 2009 at 8:40 am

I for one am enjoying watching the “birth” of this new resource, and witnessing the birth pains doesn’t bother me a bit. Your team is obviously interested in achieving better accuracy and response to queries. Keep up the great work. I’ve bookmarked this site, added it to my iPhone, and will be looking forward to watching your progress. WAlpha (will be) a great complement to existing Web tools out there.

Posted by Chris May 17, 2009 at 9:31 am

John Gruber on Daring Fireball mentions a iPhone app for this but none is available yet. When do you expect this to me available?

Posted by FG May 17, 2009 at 10:11 am

This thing does absolutely nothing. Nice work dorks.

Posted by Ralph May 17, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Extraordinarily promising, but very slow. Searched for “Chinese translation” and it gave me Sorry Dave Can’t Do That. Other queries, it didn’t know what to do with. Keep up the good work – so exciting.

Posted by NAC May 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Not accurate on many issues. outdated and wrong data on many topics. google is way way cooler and faster. for WA main users are academia and some quant/science/IT professionals. Not sure what the excitement is all about.

Posted by troll May 17, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I dont understand why IT professionals use Windows for such a critical and important mission (I was schocked when i saw the Redmonder logo floating around on the Screen on the left …) 🙁

Posted by Alessandro May 18, 2009 at 4:25 am

Ok zaebtsa=)))

by luca

Posted by luca May 18, 2009 at 4:28 am

I HAVE to get one of those stat panels for my blog – haha! Great work guys!

Posted by Cory May 18, 2009 at 8:52 pm

I saw wolfram on the ten clock news and i thought that i would chech it out . I think what you have done is wonderful thing that you have made

Posted by rachel crose May 18, 2009 at 10:21 pm

With this I could have created the world in 5 days!

Posted by God May 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I wish “Wolfram|Alpha” will become internet’s only requirement in future for the coming generations, like a real “tungsten” – is also called “wolfram” which is a vital element still used in every electric bulb to lit up our daily lives.

by IHAnsari

Posted by Iqbal Ansari May 19, 2009 at 12:56 am


Posted by Ann, Poland May 19, 2009 at 8:41 am

Hello there I was wondering if you have any investment opportunitys at this time? Or can you tell me were to write for this information? Thank you.

Posted by Shawn P. Clayton May 19, 2009 at 10:51 am

Exceeds the expectation

Posted by MaestroMind May 20, 2009 at 2:14 am

Hey its not able to view stastic report of Indian based IT Companies like HCL Technoloies Ltd, MRO-TEK Ltd … etc

Please have a look into it … before it stretch across INDIA!!

JAI HO Wolfram… 🙂

Raj Kumar – Vizag

Posted by Raj May 20, 2009 at 7:10 am

Amazing job done by Wolfram-Alpha team!!

Special Congrats to the Wolfram-Alpha Network Engineers … they have done a fantastic planning of routing & switching.

JAI HO Wolfram …

-Raj Kumar (Vizag)

Posted by Raj Kumar May 20, 2009 at 7:20 am

Is there any oppertunity to work with Wolfram-Alpha team??


Posted by Raj Kumar May 20, 2009 at 7:30 am

Will using Charcoal filters, Increase or diminish my carbon foot print?

Posted by Robb May 20, 2009 at 9:33 am

I’m a high school computer science teacher. I deeply appreciate this wonderful resource, but I feel one area for growth is in simply explaining how to elicit the computation you want, especially if it requires two or three steps and a natural language phrase or two. It doesn’t obviously do anything when I parenthesize subexpressions.

Another area of growth is how to explain to lay-people briefly and persuasively how this is different from a search engine, and what it is and isn’t good for. Also being able to get some kind of overview of what domains have coverage. These might help prevent some of the embarrassingly wrongheaded articles that seem to dismiss W|A because it doesn’t do what Google does.

Congratulations, Stephen and associates. This is a hell of an achievement.

Posted by Freeman Crouch May 20, 2009 at 11:51 am

Good idea, poorly done. I have “searched” multiple times, using different example formats on four different days. Only one returned results and that was wrong. A user manual would help , not just images of example results. This is sad.
If you tell me I just need to “learn the system” I will cry. I don’t need a hobby, I need help with finding usefull information. Please let us all know when this works.

Posted by Blacksmith May 20, 2009 at 10:36 pm

hey thats great!

I have written something on my blog too.
Please look at it,

Posted by Abhijeet May 22, 2009 at 6:21 am

Is there an answer for addiction? haha

Posted by Steven P Sanderson II May 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Gostei muito da idéia.Espero e acredito que ela seja exequível.
Conheço o trabalho do Dr.Wolfram e sei que ele jamais se arriscaria se não acreditasse no projeto.
Espero que logo, logo tenhamos uma versão em português (Brasil), mesmo porque pelo grau de importancia internacional que o nosso pais vem alcançando, já podemos nos considerar melhores do que miutos paises africanos e outros mundo a fora que alguns sites americanos não valorizam.

Posted by Antonio Carlos Mansur May 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

Hello Iam very much interested on the new search engine from today on 31.5.2009 I have just missed from 18 th when I know it on NEWS. Thank U

Posted by kanukuntlamahesh May 31, 2009 at 5:32 am

I wish you to open search engine fast and best for the students and for all……mahesh

Posted by kanukuntlamahesh May 31, 2009 at 5:37 am

New search engine intersted & magically engine. Congretulation all

Posted by Ashok Rajpurohit June 9, 2009 at 9:01 am

Are you a publicly trading stock company,if so, what is your stock symbol and what stock exchange?. Thank you Jeffrey

Posted by Jeffrey Taylor June 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    We are a privately held company. Thank you for inquiring.

    Posted by The PR Team June 18, 2009 at 7:46 am