Home Wolfram Alpha Gets Its First Update

Wolfram Alpha Gets Its First Update

Wolfram Alpha, the ‘computational knowledge engine’ from the makers of Mathematica, received its first major update today. According to Wolfram, this is the first broad update to the core code and data of Alpha since its launch, and includes a number of refinements to the way Alpha handles certain types of data and queries. Specifically, these refinements include combined time series plots of different quantities (“germany gdp vs population“), additional linguistic forms of many types of data and questions, and a number of updates to Alpha’s data set, so that it now knows more about planets, foods, and government positions, for example. In total, the team touched about 1.1 million data values in this update and made 1,850 code commits.

Become an Alpha Tester

The Wolfram Alpha team will also make the latest version of its updates available for a limited number of outside testers before it goes live. If you would like to become a test for Wolfram Alpha, you can sign up here.

Here is a more complete list of updates:

  • Additional linguistic forms for many types of data and questions
  • More comparisons of composite properties (e.g. “US military vs. UK”)
  • Combined time series plots of different quantities (e.g. “germany gdp vs population”)
  • More complete handling of government positions (e.g. “chancellor”, etc.)
  • Updates to country borders for India, China, Slovenia, Croatia, and others
  • Updates to naming for certain politically sensitive countries and regions
  • Additional subcountry regions (e.g. “Wales”); many more to come
  • Additional support for current and past fractional timezones (e.g. “Iran time”)
  • City-by-city handling of U.S. states with multiple timezones
  • Updates to certain European currencies (e.g. for “Cyprus” and “Slovakia”)
  • Some additional historical events; many more to come
  • Additional probability computations for cards and coins (e.g. “2 or 3 aces”)
  • Additional output for partitions of integers (e.g. “partitions of 47”)
  • Implicit handling of geometric figure properties (e.g. “ellipse with area 6 and major axis 2”)
  • Additional support for Mathematica 3D graphics syntax
  • Additional support for stock prices with explicit dates
  • Support for planet-to-planet distances and “nearest planet”, etc.
  • Extra information when comparing incompatible units (e.g. “ergs vs. newtons”)
  • Improved linguistic handling for many foods (e.g. “love apple”)
  • More mountains added, especially in Australia
  • Support for many less-common given names (e.g. “zebulon”)
  • More “self-aware” questions answered (e.g. “how old are you”)
  • More consistent handling of sidebar links to Wikipedia, etc.

Are You Using Alpha?

When we first reviewed Wolfram Alpha in early May, we gave it a mixed review, based on how uneven its search results were when looking at some topics outside of the engineering and live sciences. Alpha got a lot of hype before and right after its launch, but things have been relatively quiet since then. According to Compete, which just uploaded its data for May today, Alpha had around 1.5 million unique visitors last month (as always, we recommend you take these numbers with a grain of salt). We will have to wait and see, of course, how many of these visitors just went to the site out of curiosity and how many will become loyal users.

Have you gone back to using Alpha after the initial release, or are you waiting for a better version to come around? Let us know in the comments.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.