Frequently Asked Questions

Technology of Wolfram|Alpha

What is the core technology of Wolfram|Alpha?

There are many parts to it, each with significant innovations. Four key general areas are the data curation pipeline, the algorithmic computation system, the linguistic processing system, and the automated presentation system.

How big is the Wolfram|Alpha source?

It's currently more than 10 million lines of symbolic Mathematica code, together with many terabytes of data.

How easy is it to scale Wolfram|Alpha?

Wolfram|Alpha uses a modular server architecture, similar to many modern supercomputers. Scaling to accommodate more requests simply requires having more modules.

Does Wolfram|Alpha use parallel computation?

Yes, extensively. In fact, outputs often have each pod computed on a different CPU.

What kinds of computers are Wolfram|Alpha's servers?

Wolfram|Alpha uses clusters of modern x86 processors, configured in modular units.

Can I get a private version of Wolfram|Alpha?

Running Wolfram|Alpha requires large-scale infrastructure. Custom Wolfram|Alpha solutions are available for large organizations.

Does Wolfram|Alpha learn from user behavior?

Yes. User behavior gives excellent clues about linguistics, which we incorporate into Wolfram|Alpha.

What is Wolfram|Alpha's internal implementation language?

Mathematica. Without Mathematica's high-level symbolic programming and huge base of built-in algorithms, Wolfram|Alpha simply wouldn't have been possible.

What web technology does Wolfram|Alpha use?

Its server technology is based on Apache Web servers accessing clusters of webMathematica servers. On the client side, it's using AJAX(JavaScript).

Does Wolfram|Alpha use an ontology?

In effect it has a dynamic algorithmic version of an ontology, implemented using symbolic programming. A future version of the Wolfram|Alpha API may expose some of Wolfram|Alpha's internal ontology constructs.