## Wolfram|Alpha is the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. You enter your question or calculation, and Wolfram|Alpha uses its built-in algorithms and growing collection of data to compute the answer.

## Answer Engine vs Search Engine

Wolfram|Alpha will be **one of the most computationally intensive websites on the internet**. The Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine is an “answer engine” that is able to produce answers to various questions such as

- What is the GDP of France?
- Weather is Springfield when David Ortiz was born
- 33 g of gold
- LDL vs. serum potassium 150 smoker male age 40
- life expectancy male age 40 finland
- high school teacher median wage

Wolfram|Alpha excels at different areas like mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering, astronomy, chemistry, life sciences, geology, business and finance as demonstrated by Steven Wolfram in his Introduction screencast.

## The Stats

- Abour 10,000 CPU cores at launch
- 10+ trillion of pieces of data
- 50,000+ types of algorithms
- Able to handle about 175 million queries per day
- 5+ million lines of symbolic Mathematica code

## The Computers Powering Computable Knowledge

There is no way to know exactly how much traffic to expect, especially during the initial period immediately following the launch, but the Wolfram|Alpha team is working hard to put reasonable capacity in place.

As Stephen writes in the Wolfram|Alpha blog Alpha will run in 5 distributed colocation facilities. What computing power have they gathered in these facilities for launch day? Two supercomputers, just about 10,000 processor cores, hundreds of terabytes of disks, a heck of a lot of bandwidth, and what seems like enough air conditioning for the Sahara to host a ski resort.

One of their launch partners, R Systems, created the world’s 44th largest supercomputer (per the June 2008 TOP500 list – it is listed as 66th per the latest Top500 list). They call it the R Smarr. It will be running Wolfram|Alpha on launch day! R Smarr has a Sum Rmax of 39580 GFlops using Dell DCS CS23-SH, QC HT 2.8 GHz computers, 4608 cores, 65536 GB of RAM and Infiniband interconnect.

Dell is another of the launch partners with a data center full of quad-board, dual-processor, quad-core Harpertown servers. What does it all add up to? The ability to **handle 175 million queries (yielding maybe a billion) per day**—over 5 billion queries (encompassing around 30 billion calculations) per month.

## The Launch of Wolfram|Alpha

Watch a live webcast of the Wolfram|Alpha system being brought online for the first time on

- Friday, May 15, beginning at 7pm CST

## The First Killer App of The New Kind of Science

The Genius behind Wolfram|Alpha is Stephen Wolfram. He is best know for his ambitious projects: *Mathematica* and *A New Kind of Science (NKS)*.

May 14, 2009 marks the 7th anniversary of the publication of his book A New Kind of Science. Stephen explains is his blog post: But for me the biggest thing that’s happened this year is the emergence of Wolfram|Alpha. Wolfram|Alpha is, I believe, going to be the first killer app of NKS.

## Status

That it should be possible to build Wolfram|Alpha as it exists today in the first decade of the 21st century was far from obvious. And yet there is much more to come.

As of now, Wolfram|Alpha contains 10+ trillion of pieces of data, 50,000+ types of algorithms and models, and linguistic capabilities for 1000+ domains. Built with Mathematica—which is itself the result of more than 20 years of development at Wolfram Research—Wolfram|Alpha’s core code base now exceeds 5 million lines of symbolic Mathematica code. Running on supercomputer-class compute clusters, Wolfram|Alpha makes extensive use of the latest generation of web and parallel computing technologies, including webMathematica and gridMathematica.

## How *Mathematica* Made Wolfram|Alpha Possible?

Wolfram|Alpha is a major software engineering development to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. It is developed and deployed entirely with Mathematica—in fact, Mathematica has uniquely made Wolfram|Alpha possible. Here’s why.

- Computational knowledge and intelligence
- High-performance enterprise deployment
- One coherent architecture
- Smart method selection
- Dynamic report generation
- Database connectivity
- Built-in, computable data
- High-level programming language
- Efficient text processing and linguistic analysis
- Wide-ranging, automated visualization capabilities
- Automated importing
- Development environment

## Information Sources

- Wolfram|Alpha
- About Wolfram|Alpha
- Wolfram|Alpha Blog
- Introduction to Wolfram|Alpha screencast
- A New Kind of Science
- Wolfram Research – Mathematica
- How
*Mathematica*Made Wolfram|Alpha Possible? - The Secret behind the Computational Engine in Wolfram|Alpha
- More info expected after the launch… stay tuned!

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