Updated Wolfram Alpha Computational Knowledge Engine
Article by George Norman
On 10 Jun 2009
Wolfram Alpha, the search engine developed by British-born physicist and Mathematica creator Stephen Wolfram, the one that went live less than a month ago, has been updated. In all fairness to Stephen Wolfram, we should refrain from calling Wolfram Alpha a search engine, and we should call it a computational knowledge engine. In a similar fashion we should refrain from calling Microsoft’s Bing a search engine also and should call it a “decision engine”. No matter how you call it, the bottom line is that Wolfram Alpha has been updated.

The Wolfram Alpha Team explains: “There’s new data flowing into Wolfram|Alpha every second. And we’re always working very hard to develop the core code and data for the system. In fact, internally, we have a complete new version of the system that’s built every day. But before we release this version for general use, we do extensive validation and testing. In addition to real-time data updates, we’ve made a few changes to Wolfram|Alpha since its launch three weeks ago. But today, as one step in our ongoing, long-term development process, we’ve just made live the first broad updates to the core code and data of Wolfram|Alpha.”


The complete list of updates added to the Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine is available here. Out of that long, long list we’ve picked the following highlights:
- Added more linguistic forms to data and questions.
- Added more comparisons of composite properties, like for example “Us army vs. UK”.
- Better handling of government positions.
- Updated country borders and the naming of certain politically sensitive locations.
- Added subcountry regions.
- Enhanced support for fractional time zones, for example “India time”. For US states with multiple time zones, added city-by-city handling.
- European currencies have been updated.
- Added and continuing to add historical events.
- Implicit handling of geometric figure properties.
- Enhanced support for planet-to-planet distances.
- Better linguistic support for foods.
- Wolfram Alpha can answer more self aware questions such as “how old are you?”.

If you would like to use Wolfram Alpha, visit the official web page here.

Tags: Wolfram Alpha, Update
About the author: George Norman
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