Indexing & Search Engine: Wolfram Alpha Answer Engine Makes Its Debut

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2009-05-19 Print this article Print
Wolfram Alpha Answer Engine Makes Its Debut

Wolfram Alpha Answer Engine Makes Its Debut

by Nicholas Kolakowski
Before Wolfram Alpha's release, some pundits declared that the online answer engine had the potential to be a Google killer. While the site, developed by Stephen Wolfram, does scour the Web for information, it offers up structured answers to factual queries, as opposed to offering a list of hyperlinked Web pages. Anyone searching online for images of favorite celebrities or top vacation spots would be completely out of luck. But for those who need to make complex calculations on the fly or pull numerical data based on physics or speed, Wolfram Alpha presents a venue for doing so without necessarily having to sort through the dozens of possibly questionable Web sites that a traditional search engine would offer up. The site, which was built with Wolfram Research's 20-years-in-the-making Mathematica processing system, contains over 10 trillion pieces of data, 50,000 algorithms and models, and linguistic capabilities for over 1,000 domains. Wolfram Alpha's core code base exceeds 5 million lines of symbolic Mathematica code, according to the site.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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