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Web Search Is Ready for a Shakeup, Says UW Computer Scientist


University of Washington professor Oren Etzioni

University of Washington professor Oren Etzioni

Image credit: University of Washington

University of Washington (UW) professor Oren Etzioni recently called on the international academic community and engineers to be more ambitious in designing how users find information online.

The main obstacle to progress "seems to be a curious lack of ambition and imagination," Etzioni writes. "Despite all the talent and the data they have, I don't think they've been ambitious enough."

When IBM's Watson supercomputer recently beat the best human players at "Jeopardy!", it showed how far the technology has come in being able to answer complex questions. However, as the ability to perform intelligent searches increases, so does the demand.

"People are going to be clamoring for more intelligent search and a more streamlined process of asking questions and getting answers," Etzioni says. Instead of looking for strings of text, a Web search engine should identify basic entities, such as people, places and things, and discover the relationships between them, which is the goal of UW's Turing Center. The center has developed ReVerb, an open source tool that uses Web information to determine the relationship between two entities.

From University of Washington News
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