Mastufa Ahmed recently interviewed Luc Barthelet, Executive Director of Wolfram|Alpha to learn more about the company’s search algorithm. Asked about what semantic web technologies Wolfram uses, Barthelet responded, “Wolfram|Alpha is not searching the Semantic Web per se. It takes search queries and maps them to an exact semantic understanding of the query, which is then processed against its curated knowledge base. The main technology used is Mathematica whose language is used to describe the semantic queries, and Mathematica technology is used to build up the natural language parser, the data curation pipeline and perform the data processing, computation and visualization.”

Answering a question about mass users, Barhtelet responded, “Part of Wolfram|Alpha’s mission is to ‘democratize data’ – to make expert-level knowledge available to everyone, regardless of education or profession. We’ve made it possible for everyone to get quick, accurate answers to factual questions, without having to search through hundreds of web links. New features in Wolfram|Alpha Pro even allow users to feed their own datasets into Wolfram|Alpha for an automatic, instant analysis. And we’re constantly expanding into new areas of knowledge, particularly in more consumer-friendly areas like sports, music, movies, and more. Much of that content is specific to the United States right now, but we’re also adding more localized data for users around the world.”

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Image: Courtesy Wolfram Alpha