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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Connecting People and Places

April 21, 2010 —
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Here at Wolfram|Alpha, we’re busy curating new data and knowledge from around the world. And as new data rolls in, we’re exploring how it might connect and provide insights to existing datasets. Since the launch of Wolfram|Alpha you’ve been able to explore a number of properties for cities, such as population, geographic properties, location and map coordinates, current local time and weather, economic properties, crime rates, and more. Now, thanks to a recent coupling between people and city data, Wolfram|Alpha can not only tell you that Memphis, Tennessee is the Home of the Blues, but it can also tell you that it’s the birth and/or death place of notable people such as the King of Rock ‘n Roll Elvis Presley and civil rights activist Martin Luther King.

Notable people connected to Memphis, Tennessee by birth or death

At the present time Wolfram|Alpha contains deaths and births for some 38,000 notable people from around the world in places such as Cape Town, South Africa and Oxford, United Kingdom. Are you wondering where all of the data for notable people in Beijing, China and some other cities is hiding? Given the busy nature of birth and death data, we’re reaching out to Wolfram|Alpha volunteers who are contributing to the project with information from their parts of the world. Did you notice missing data on notable people from your area? You can help add data to Wolfram|Alpha by signing up to become a volunteer. Check out this recent blog post profiling the work of a few dedicated Wolfram|Alpha volunteers.


But too few people for Lviv

Posted by Mudry April 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

Neat! Too bad no one I’ve heard of was born in my town.

Posted by Bob H. April 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I am very curious as to where Wolfram obtains all of its data sources, how the data is cleansed, possibility for bias in the data, and also the overall architecture of the system.

Posted by Seann April 22, 2010 at 8:10 pm

From the blog:
“a recent coupling between people and city data enabled , Wolfram|Alpha …”.

How was this coupling archived? How will it be archived for zillion other posible combinations of properties?

W|A should be able to do those kind of coupling on the fly (i.e. during query evaluation).This is the essence of relational databases (i.e natural join) and gives them great power.
I believe that doing those kind of operations correctly is critical for W|A further success..

Greatings from Croatia.

Posted by Drago April 23, 2010 at 9:46 am

Stephen, fantastic idea and I hope the project swell into one massive lump of knowledge (though you know in the end the answer is 42!).

Before long some smart assss is going to comment that Elvis Presley was not born in Memphis, Tennessee. (it was Tupelo, Mississippi) as I nearly did – but of course he died in Memphis, though disputed by many who see him everywhere even today.

Posted by Hiran de Silva April 23, 2010 at 9:53 am

Nice, and you could extend this to countries or regions as well. What I don’t understand is why, instead of asking the community to do the work one more time, you don’t draw on public resources from linked data ( dbpedia, freebase, etc). Some more pairs could also be pulled from True Knowledge.

Posted by François Dongier April 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

OK, the info is handy and will make the past easier and faster accessible to us, so thanks for that
Unfortunately humans rarely learn from reading and knowing or experiencing the past, not often even from their own mistakes

I find it a bit sad that the Present plays second fiddle to the Past and the Future.

We need a ‘Big Brother” to Enhance life on Earth (or Wherever) for the present and future generations. Maybe we need to concentrate more on where we are and were we are going.

Posted by Norman Bamberger May 2, 2010 at 12:31 am

I conceive other website proprietors should take this internet site as an model, very clean and great user friendly design and style .

Posted by Willette Nikaido February 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm