Wolfram Alpha

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Globe icon of the infobox
Wolfram Alpha
Website logo
Computing knowledge machine
Online service
operator Wolfram Research
Registration optional
On-line May 15, 2009

Wolfram Alpha ( proper spelling : Wolfram | Alpha and WolframAlpha) is an online service based on the Mathematica software for finding and displaying information that is being developed by Wolfram Research .

In contrast to an ordinary search engine , the main goal is not to find facts available on the Internet using search strategies alone, but to process facts into results using specific algorithms . Wolfram Alpha is therefore a semantic search engine . The results are synthetic answers, from a simple summation to eigenvalues , from differential equations or orbits of planets . Wolfram Alpha wants to fill a function gap in search engines when it comes to answering questions.


The project has been developed by Stephen Wolfram and a team of one hundred employees since 2005. Stephen's brother Conrad Wolfram is often named as the inventor . So-called data curators have also been working worldwide since May 2009, providing data from the respective region. A data curator , usually a scientist or specialist in a particular field, provides data on a particular topic and checks the quality of the data, in addition to the automatic and manual verification by Wolfram Research. There are also so-called preview site testers worldwide .

The software consists of a free part that can be used without registration and a Pro version with additional functions. These consist, among other things, of "Step by Step Solutions", the analysis of over 60 different file formats or the display with download option of graphic results. There is a separate offshoot for companies and organizations under the name Wolfram | Alpha Appliance. The analysis tool combines the data provided by a company with Wolfram Alpha's algorithms to answer questions related to that company.

Wolfram Alpha is also available as an app for iOS, Android and Windows. Since June 18, 2018, Wolfram Alpha can also be used in Japanese in addition to English.


In contrast to the currently dominant search engines, whose field of activity is to find suitable websites for the search query , Wolfram Alpha tries to find a content-related answer to the search query. Wolfram Alpha calculates the results of the queries on the basis of an extensive database and the functional principle of cellular automata ; So it does not work on the principle of the crawler of conventional search engines. Because the search engine tries to provide a single, specific semantic answer to the query, the user is not presented with a list of relevant websites, but with a result in the form of data, graphics or images. The focus of the search engine is accordingly also on the exact sciences; other inquiries are usually inadequately processed.

The semantics of the search queries formulated in English must follow a certain regularity so that the search engine can process them. Despite its ability to interpret natural language, Wolfram Alpha does not yet provide meaningful answers to many search queries.

For some time now, Wolfram Alpha has also been able to evaluate social networks . To this end, a function was first activated in August 2012 with which the user's personal Facebook profile can be evaluated by the search engine. Comprehensive permission to access the user's personal data is required; Third party profiles cannot currently be analyzed.


Wolfram Alpha is based on the one hand on the Mathematica software , on the other hand it obtains the data used from external sources, e.g. B. from academic and commercial websites like Crunchbase , from US authorities like the CIA , the United States Geological Survey , the Federal Aviation Administration , and optionally even from the Facebook account of the respective user.

At the beginning of 2009, Wolfram Alpha consists of 15 million lines of code from Wolfram Language.

Wolfram Alpha is used by the Microsoft Bing search engine, Apple's Siri , Samsung's S Voice , Amazon's Alexa , Iris from Dexetra and the voice control software on the BlackBerry 10.

Features (selection)

Wolfram Alpha can, among other things:

Wolfram | Alpha APIs

Wolfram | Alpha Short Answers API

The API delivers a single plaintext result directly from Wolfram | Alpha. This type of API is designed to provide short answers in the simplest possible format.

Wolfram | Alpha Full Results API

This API allows users to query in free form, similar to queries on the Wolfram | Alpha website, and return the calculated results in a variety of formats.

Wolfram | Alpha Simple API

The Simple API is based on the same technology as the Full Results API and generates the full Wolfram | Alpha output in a universally viewable image format. This API makes it easy to translate freely formulated linguistic queries into detailed, formatted results for users with little programming effort.

Wolfram | Alpha Spoken Results API

The Spoken Results API returns text results that are formulated in whole (currently only English) sentences. This API is ideal for applications that use a text-to-speech component to deliver a spoken result to users.

Wolfram | Alpha Conversational API

The Conversational API returns a text result in whole sentences, together with a token for a related follow-up request. This API provides a simple interface for personal assistants, reference applications and other situations that require continuous dialogue.

Wolfram | Alpha Fast Query Recognizer API

The Fast Query Recognizer API returns an XML or JSON response indicating whether a request is accepted by the Wolfram | Alpha server and which domain the response is most likely to come from. This API was developed to give developers a quick way to test the feasibility of various queries in Wolfram | Alpha API applications.

Wolfram | Alpha Summary Box API

The Summary Box API provides configurable, pre-generated boxes that summarize the available Wolfram | Alpha knowledge for a topic. This API is intended to provide an overview of general topics such as countries, chemicals, calendar dates or people.

Wolfram | Alpha Instant Calculators API

The Instant Calculators API enables quick access to interactive form interfaces for calculating various values ​​from common formulas. This process uses Fast Query Recognizer API lookups to determine the correct attributes for a particular formula and Full Results API assumptions to represent and change the possible states of a formula.

Wolfram | Alpha Show Steps API

As an extension of the Full Results API, the Show Steps API offers complete step-by-step solutions from Wolfram | Alpha for questions in a variety of math and science topics. These explanations are particularly useful in classroom, test preparation, and homework applications.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Clear start for the Wolfram Alpha knowledge machine. In: Handelsblatt. May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009 .
  2. Kai Biermann: Search engines: Wolfram Alpha, of all things . In: Zeit Online , March 1, 2010, accessed March 4, 2016
  3. Wolfram | Alpha Frequently Asked Questions: Data in Wolfram | Alpha , accessed on January 4, 2017
  4. ^ WolframAlpha: Pricing Plans at Wolframalpha. Accessed January 21, 2020 (English).
  5. Wolfram | Alpha Appliance: Deploy a private Wolfram | Alpha Appliance inside your infrastructure . Retrieved October 24, 2019
  6. ど ん な 難 し い 計算 や 質問 に も 答 え て く れ る “WolframAlpha” 、 日本語 版 が 公開. In: Windows Forest. June 19, 2018, accessed July 31, 2018 .
  7. The answer machine . In: Der Spiegel . No. 20 , 2009 ( online ).
  8. Stephen Wolfram: Overcoming Artificial Stupidity. In: Wolfram Alpha Blog. April 17, 2012, Retrieved August 4, 2012 .
  9. Marcel Seer: Facebook profile analysis: Wolfram Alpha shows what Facebook knows about us. In: t3n magazine . August 31, 2012, accessed September 2, 2012 .
  10. Romain Dillet: Wolfram Alpha Makes CrunchBase Data Computable Just In Time For Disrupt SF . In: TechCrunch. September 7, 2012, accessed January 4, 2017
  11. Chris Barylick: Wolfram Alpha search engine now tracks flight paths, trajectory information . In: engadget.com, November 19, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2017
  12. Katharina Nocun: WolframAlpha: Facebook user data under the magnifying glass . In: Network . May 3, 2013, accessed January 4, 2017
  13. Stephen Wolfram: Stephen Wolfram: The Background and Vision of Mathematica . October 10, 2011, accessed January 4, 2017
  14. Tom Krazit: Bing strikes licensing deal with Wolfram Alpha . In: CNET .com. August 21, 2009. Retrieved January 4, 2017
  15. Markus Franz: Wolfram Alpha: The search engine behind Apple Siri . In: Network . November 9, 2011, accessed January 4, 2017
  16. Alexa Can Now Answer Those Tricky Math Questions . In: News 18 December 26, 2018, accessed on August 13, 2019
  17. ^ Ronen Halevy: BlackBerry Teams Up with Wolfram Alpha For BlackBerry 10 Voice Control . In: BerryReview. October 21, 2013, accessed January 4, 2017
  18. Examples for Equation Solving. Retrieved March 25, 2020 (English).
  19. differentiation. Retrieved March 25, 2020 (English).
  20. integrate. Retrieved March 25, 2020 (English).
  21. Examples for Differential Equations. Retrieved March 25, 2020 (English).
  22. Triple Integral Calculator. Retrieved March 25, 2020 (English).
  23. Wolfram | Alpha APIs: Computational Knowledge Integration. Retrieved December 11, 2019 .