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9 October 2006
Professor Zoubin Ghahramani
Zoubin Ghahramani, Professor of Information Engineering is one of 12 winners of a Microsoft Live Labs research award that aims to identify bold and innovative approaches to information retrieval, data mining, machine learning and human/computer interactions that can dramatically change the way we interact with the Web and its vast array of resources.
Recipients of the Live Labs grants are posing some of the most compelling questions in search technology today. Zoubin's grant has been awarded for 'Statistical Machine Learning for User Modeling'. His work aims at developing more intelligent adaptive search engines using methods from machine learning. Machine learning is the field of research concerned with how to get computers to learn from data, and to improve their performance. The web is the world's greatest database, and the combination of this data with search methods and machine learning offers many exciting opportunities.
In particular, Zoubin's group will look at ways to help improve personalised searches by learning from the results of searches by other users. They will also work on methods for predicting queries and identifying trends and trend-setters, and trying to discover the network structure of users and queries.
Designing good search methods involves solving an inference problem: "What is the probability that the user is interested in this web page given that she typed in this query?" Zoubin hopes that by making use of ideas that are coming out of cognitive science and statistical machine learning, we can create more intelligent, learning search engines.
Microsoft will help Zoubin's research with not only an unrestricted cash award, but also with access to a wealth of real- world user query and click-through data from MSN. The data is completely anonymous so as to protect the privacy of the users.
Microsoft Live Labs is a partnership between MSN and Microsoft Research that brings together people with a variety of skills and perspectives to foster research programs, incubate entirely new inventions, and improve and accelerate new Web-based technologies.
For more information: Please contact Zoubin Ghahramani: http://learning.eng.cam.ac.uk/zoubin/
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