Wolfram Alpha Releases Their API

Andres Ferrate, October 16th, 2009

Wolfram Alpha Wolfram Alpha, the up-and-coming “answer engine” that we reported on back in May, has just released an API that developers have been awaiting since this spring. The new RESTful API provides access to the vast stores of data and computational knowledge available through the Wolfram Alpha project (technical details at our Wolfram Alpha API profile).

Wolfram Alpha

As announced on the Wolfram Alpha blog, developers have been enthusiastically proposing various use cases for the API:

We’ve seen interest across a wide range of areas for which the developer community wants to use Wolfram|Alpha—researching cancer through computational biology, augmenting web and meta-web search with computed knowledge, enriching online journalism with interactive content, building artificial intelligence systems on our domain expertise, leveraging our data analysis for decision support, optimizing renewable-energy efficiency, and even determining the optimal temperature for draft beer based on the current weather conditions. Clearly, a straightforward API that enables applications to access advanced computations based on trusted information and backed up by a supercomputer-class infrastructure invites developers to explore ideas that were not otherwise possible.

Perhaps one of the most visible uses of the API will be a new iPhone app being developed by the Wolfram Alpha team. The API provides results in XML format, and there are several language bindings available, including Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, and .Net. (C++ and Java coming soon). The API allows developers to send a web request with the same query string used in Wolfram Alpha’s query box. It is not a ’small’ API, which you can tell via the 34 page Reference Guide (PDF).

Developers should note that an API key is required and that the API is not free. As shown below, they offer a tiered pricing model based on usage (in the table below, the top section shows pricing for Developer and Personal use, while the lower section shows Enterprise pricing):


TechCrunch, Mashable, and O’Reilly Radar (which includes some food for thought on the implications of the API) have additional coverage on the release of this promising API.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Wolfram Alpha Releases Their API”

October 19th, 2009
at 5:26 am
Comment by: Garry Pilkington

It’s a shame there isn’t a free plan for developers to look into the API to see if it is suitable for them. I know $60 is not a lot, but it adds a barrier to adoption.

November 6th, 2009
at 12:21 am
Comment by: Factual Launches Open Data Platform, Including API

[...] have noted a similarity between Factual and Wolfram Alpha, which also has a new API. SearchEngineLand explains the difference: “Unlike Wolfram Alpha, which is a closed system [...]

November 12th, 2009
at 1:59 pm
Comment by: Microsoft Bing Adds Computational Search From Wolfram Alpha

[...] the Wolfram Alpha API was released in October, we saw the promise of connecting to its data and algorithms. The connection with Bing is [...]

July 12th, 2010
at 1:57 am
Comment by: Mine the Information Behind the Search with These APIs

[...] especially due to its expensive iPhone app (it has since lowered the price). The company also released its API in October, with a hefty price [...]

Follow the PW team on Twitter

APIs, mashups and code. Because the world's your programmable oyster.

John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.