The folks working behind the scenes on the infrastructure of the Wolfram/Alpha search engine offered some details on the computing power for a new search engine that's been referred to as a Google killer.
In the post, the team noted that once Wolfram/Alpha launches, it will be "one of the most computationally intensive" sites on the Internet and there's no way of knowing exactly how much traffic to expect. The site will be serviced from five distributed colocation facilities and the computing power, according to the blog post, will include:
Two supercomputers, just about 10,000 processor cores, hundreds of terabytes of disks, a heck of a lot of bandwidth, and what seems like enough air conditioning for the Sahara to host a ski resort. One of our launch partners, R Systems, created the world’s 44th largest supercomputer (per the June 2008 TOP500 list). They call it the R Smarr. We call it the most powerful computer that will be running Wolfram|Alpha on launch day! Dell is another of our launch partners. They helped us pull together in just a few weeks a data center full of quad-board, dual-processor, quad-core Harpertown servers. That’s the computing power of another top supercomputer in its own right!
So what does that translate to in terms of traffic and capacity? According to the post, it's enough computing power to handle "175 million queries (yielding maybe a billion) per day - over 5 billion queries (encompassing around 30 billion calculations) per month."
The site is expected to go live later this month.
Also see: Wolfram Alpha has Google's attention
Wolfram/Alpha's demo: Search results meet analytics
Wolfram Alpha: 'A new paradigm for using computers and the web'