The hardware behind Wolfram Alpha

The Wolfram Alpha team has revealed some information about its hardware setup on their team blog. If you haven’t heard about Wolfram Alpha, it’s a soon-to-be launched “computational knowledge engine” with an interface similar to a search engine. There’s been a lot of buzz about it, for example on ReadWriteWeb and TechCrunch.

Here are some of the main points they made about their setup:

  • The service is distributed across 5 datacenters (colocation).
  • It has two supercomputers from R Systems.
  • About 10,000 processor cores.
  • Hundreds of terabytes of disk space.
  • Quad-board, dual-processor, quad-core Harpertown servers from Dell.
  • And ”enough air conditioning for the Sahara to host a ski resort”.

End result: On launch day, Wolfram Alpha will be able to handle 175 million queries per day, over 5 billion queries per month. The Wolfram Alpha team hopes that that is more than enough capacity to make sure that their platform runs smoothly even during peak hours.

Not bad, right? We wish them the best of luck since it sounds like a very cool search engine and computational platform rolled into one. And as we know from other product launches in the past, launches can be tricky.


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