August 31, 2009
How did you go about building Wolfram|Alpha? What were the design challenges and architecture of Wolfram|Alpha?
It’s a complicated project. Certainly it has many more “moving parts” than anything I’ve ever tried to do before. There’s the data side of it: building a pipeline to organize and expertly curate data from all different domains. Then there’s implementing all the methods and models that we know from science and other fields. Then there’s doing linguistic processing to understand people’s inputs. And then there’s automatically presenting results, creating tabulations and visualizations and so on. We’ve invented a lot of new approaches, both technological and organizational, to make it all work.