We recently took a first look at Wolfram Alpha's "computational knowledge engine." Now Wolfram has announced its first series of updates aiming to improve the already impressive search engine's capabilities.
As anyone who's played around with Alpha has no doubt noted, the engine is a fun—though still incomplete—way to find information. Many of my searches still tend to yield the "Wolfram Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input" response. This first round of updates is looking to improve that.
Wolfram has added linguistic forms for different data sets and questions, updated with support for many less common given names (Wolfram offers "zebulon" as an example), and improved answers to "self-aware" questions like, "How old are you?"
The updates are expected to go live for preview testing today, so if you're not among those included, you may have to wait a bit longer to gauge these improvements for yourself.
In total, Wolfram says that 591 code files have been changed and about 1.1 million data values have been tweaked "in some way" in this update. Check out the full post from Wolfram Alpha to read a more extensive changelog.
Wolfram|Alpha Update Today [Wolfram Alpha Blog]