Frequently Asked Questions

Scope of Wolfram|Alpha

What can I ask Wolfram|Alpha?

Eventually you should be able to ask it about essentially any kind of systematic factual knowledge. You can get an idea of what it covers today by looking at the Examples. You can track its progress through the Blog and the Community area.

How can I tell whether Wolfram|Alpha covers a particular area?

The easiest thing to do is just to try a simple case of it. You can also browse the Examples, or ask on the Community Forum.

What are Wolfram|Alpha's main limitations?

It can only know things that are known, and are somehow public. It only deals with facts, not opinions. It limits the computation time for each query. And, of course, it's in continual development—and always will be.

In what areas is Wolfram|Alpha strongest?

We've first emphasized areas where computation or mathematics have traditionally had a more significant role, or where knowledge is more readily quantitative. But we're steadily working through all the content areas covered by reference libraries, handbooks, and much more.

How much math can Wolfram|Alpha do?

Pretty much anything that's possible using today's best algorithms—subject only to the constraint that the computations must complete in the time Wolfram|Alpha has available.

Can Wolfram|Alpha do higher math?

Yes, absolutely. It has access to all of Mathematica's algorithms, which cover algebra, calculus, geometry, number theory, discrete math, and much more.

Does Wolfram|Alpha cover what is in standard math handbooks?

Yes, quite thoroughly, including everything in standards like Abramowitz & Stegun, Gradshteyn & Rhyzik, and many, many others. It covers much that isn't in such books, as well. And because Wolfram|Alpha performs real-time computations rather than simply looking up data, it can always derive new results.

Does Wolfram|Alpha cover what is in handbooks of chemistry and physics?

Yes, fairly thoroughly. And it's not just able to look up tabulated values, but also to compute from empirical formulas and so on, and to use such results as inputs to other computations.

How broad is Wolfram|Alpha's coverage of socioeconomic data?

For data that's systematically available internationally, its coverage is quite broad. There's more to do on data that's specific to particular countries.

Does Wolfram|Alpha have real-time financial data?

Yes. Wolfram|Alpha gives latest trade quotes in real time.

How much data does Wolfram|Alpha have on weather?

Pretty much everything that's available, going back more than a century in some places. And it's constantly getting new real-time data.

How much data does Wolfram|Alpha have about people?

Basic computable information about well-known people, such as birth and death dates, government positions, major awards, etc. More data and connections are being added.

How much data does Wolfram|Alpha have on popular culture?

Basics, particularly about more computable issues, such as movie box-office grosses. More is being added.

Why doesn't Wolfram|Alpha have data on a particular domain?

Most likely because we haven't gotten to it yet. We welcome contributions or suggestions of data that we should include.