msr presentations to search champs

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Susan Dumais from MSR is our first presenter today, and explicitly released what she's showing from the NDA. Yay!

She's showing some really nifty stuff, including a personalized search tool that lets you do a web search, then drag a slider to make the results more customized based on what your local computer knows about you. It's a split screen result, so you see the original results on the left, and the increasingly personalized results on the right. Very, very cool.

I spoke with her last night about some of my feeling that what I want from search is to be able to find things that are important, which for me means being alerted if things that are typically similar suddenly diverge, or if things that are typically very different suddenly overlap. (I wrote about this on M2M some time ago, in a piece called The Power of Overlap.)

Susan is followed by Eric Brill. He's talking about how it's often difficult for users to extract the relevant information/answer from a larger document in search results. Information-centric search" rather than "document-centric search." He shows some "AnswerBot" technologies that let you ask a question, and be provided with a range of suggested answers, complete with probabilities. He shows an example of the question "Who did Britney Spears run off and marry in Las Vegas?" and the suggested answers of Jason Alexander and Kevin Federline ranked first and second. Clicking on a suggested answer provides the supporting documents.

He then talks about how this works on the back end, in terms of the AI of parsing both the user's question and the possible answers. Turns out that the size of the web, and the repetition of content, makes it much easier to locate patterns that are likely to answer the question. Great line: Moving from: 'Does the page contain the query terms' to 'Does the page satisfy the information need'

Lili Cheng from the social computing group is the last up, and she shows some of their "personal map" work, where your activities (email, calendar, etc) affect the way your contacts are arranged and grouped. But, she points out, we already know who we interact with. How can we put this in a larger context. For example, who do you know that knows someone else--basically the LinkedIn facilitated introduction idea. But again, what's interestingn to me is how this shows overlap. It lets you map how you're connected to another person, and through what paths. I'm less interested in the endpoints than the nature of the paths that lead there.

She shows and talks about Wallop--of the 424 people invited in, about a quarter have been regularly active. What this lets them do is build maps of inferred social networks--"who's important to whom." People want to explicitly control, to be able to add/remove people. But they also don't want to have to spend a lot of time organizing. They're going to start to do a larger scale deployment of Wallop, seeding the network with controlled invites (please do not leaave comments here asking me how to get an invite. i cannot get you an invite. really.).

So, how can this be integrated into other activities, including search. Apply it to email, for example--put the people most important in your current network in an easy list, click on their name to get all the communication with them. This idea of integrating the social tools into other tools is great!

(What we're seeing supports my sense that MSR has some amazingly smart and interesting people working on these problems. Why does this keep surprising me? Why is there such a disjoint between what they produce and these smart people who are helping to produce it?)

3 TrackBacks

Microsoft's Search Champs have been hearing from Microsoft Research today about various projects, none of which is under NDA. And that's not surprising, given that nothing I've read blogged so far hasn't already been mentioned in a variety of stories... Read More

Again, I'm late on this but...Via Mamamusings, Elizabeth Lane Lawley's blog. She was one of the "Search Champs" invited up to MSFT last week to see what's on there. Susan Dumais from MSR is our first presenter today, and explicitly released what she... Read More

Microsoft's Search Champs have been hearing from Microsoft Research today about various projects, none of which is under NDA. And that's not surprising, given that nothing I've read blogged so far hasn't already been mentioned in a variety of stories... Read More

2 Comments

had an interesting encounter, using transparency, social networking, and logging complicated post operative symtoms: the log was able to fuel the social network towards apprioriate treatment: the trasparency fueled appropriate "encouragement.:

well, i can't write about the details, but it involved data searching and the family area network.

the susan link above does not work, but i found alot in these two links that reference Gemmell's and Gorden's work:

Susan Link No.1

Susan Link No. 2

this is better contextualized with following Alex's prior discussion with Prof Torrell, and surfing back to the old many to many power of overlap article.

I guess i am continuing to add more files to my MP3 system: i never realized how much paper work i do during the day: and how much of it is meaningfull: but docs just can't get things together with the prior 1950's charting system in a information overflow, dealing with consultants and insurance companies....ect...ect...

Had a great conversation with a telephone man from verison and we spoke at length about signals, and VoiP. I guess i would have to learn how to compress data: so compressing, may complicate personal search engines: also a great history of Altavista, and CPU's.

Now i am beginning to understand that graphic card thing running in parrallel.

stef

here is an interesting

Brill Paper

everyone is so stuck on that markov model: what ever happened to the Lagragian model: ibm is hidding the good stuff!

The top shelf allusions to Thudycledis's answer to not being there during a Sophist Trial: Aristotle was not the bomb back then

literate programming and the past continous aortic clause

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on October 5, 2004 1:57 PM.

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