One of the comments to Stephen Wolfram's blog post on Ada Lovelace, mentioned that WolframAlpha (and verified in Mathematica as well) provided slightly different results for the question of Ada's age when her father, Lord Byron, died, if the question was asked in two different ways.

Using "death of lord byron - birth of ada lovelace" gives 8 years, 4 months 22 days, while "age of ada lovelace when Lord Byron died", gives 8 years, 4 months, 9 days.

On expanding the details in both answers, the resulting dates used to calculate the answer are the same. Where does this slight difference come from?

Edit: The question posted in the [Wolfram Community site got no replies from the authorities, but it seems someone did correct the problem.

  • $\begingroup$ This site is about the Wolfram Mathematica language, not the Wolfram Alpha language. These are not really the same languages, even though they are based on the Wolfram framework. You might be better asking about the Wolfram Alpha language at the Wolfram community website, where there are many Wolfram Alpha language questions posted. $\endgroup$
    – Nasser
    Jan 2, 2016 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ Will change question to refer to the Mathematica Language since I just verified it produces the same result. $\endgroup$
    – Adrian
    Jan 2, 2016 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ Your question is a good one, but @Nasser's comment is motivated by the fact that, as Mathematica users like yourself, we do not necessarily have any special insight into the curious and arbitrary way that W|A interprets its input. And because it's a web service, the details of its functioning cannot easily be examined or tested, unlike with Mathematica. Hence, your chances of receiving a good answer in this very-much-unofficial forum are not high. I too would encourage you to ask at the Wolfram Community -- and by all means provide the link to your cross-post in this question. $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2016 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the issue it raises is about how Wolfram|Alpha interprets its input. That it mentions Mathematica is not sufficient to make it an appropriate question for Mathematica.SE. $\endgroup$
    – m_goldberg
    Jan 2, 2016 at 17:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the issue raised about this being a Wolfram|Alpha issue, hence off-topic, might have been slightly misleading. Whether or not such questions are off-topic, it is clear that this one requires expertise outside the realm of the forum in order to provide a response. I'd say send a bug report either to support.wolfram.com or via the Wolfram|Alpha "Contact" link. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2016 at 16:36