Sunday 17 May 2009

Wolfram Alpha passes my test

Wolfram Alpha, what is the meaning of life?

Update: Wolfram Alpha, what is the velocity of an unladen swallow?

Update 2: it gets even better. Click on velocity of a European swallow, above, and you get the actual speed. More easter eggs below:

How many roads must a man walk down?
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?
Why did the chicken cross the road?

Please add any other found easter eggs in the comments!

Update3: Josh Gans seems to be tweeting Alpha eggs! He found this one.

Update4: Technewsreport finds a few more.


  1. Pretty cool. Still an awful lot missing, though. I found Google's efforts at the semantic web pretty impressive given they just quietly added the functionality. Someone really needs to make a good frontend for DBpedia....

    WolframAlpha easter eggs:

    Who created you?Are you conscious?Anything much more complicated along the same lines and you'll get a 'human discourse - Additional functionality for this topic is under development' message.

  2. After playing with it more, I realise it's far more awesome than I originally thought.

  3. It can't handle simple boolean equations. All it does is return the Input Interpretation, without solving anything. For example,

    solve: p && (q || r) && !q = 0 for p


    Input Interpretation:

    solve | p and (q or r) and q!=0

    , but it doesn't try to return an equation with q on one side. I've tried many others, and it doesn't return any answer, not even whether the equation is inconsistent.

    I know that Wolfram Alpha is cabable of doing this kind of problem, but apparently Wolfram Alpha doesn't know it.


    define graphene

    returns nothing.

    Prove 1 + 2 = 3

    returns false, along with an

    Input Interpretation:

    TrueQ[simplify | 1+2 = 3]

    Shouldn't a 'knowledge computation engine' be capable of generating proofs for simple statements?

    Try putting in

    algorithm for long division

    and receive nothing.

    It's fun to play with, and does answer some questions. But I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed so far, that it can't answer some of the simplest math questions.

  4. When the load is too large, it says "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that" - complete with the red eye...

  5. "What is your quest?" yields an interesting response.


  7. Suggestions from the thread at MR:

    Others suggested "how are you", "where are you", "how are you", "how old are you"

  8. try this:



    I just wondered why nobody tried this one before...

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  14. For "Where have all the flowers gone?" it gives "long time passing" rather than the far more correct "Young girls picked them, every one."

    It does give a technically correct answer to "Who wrote the book of love?", though.