KDnuggets : News : 2006 : n19 : item6 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


Subject: Q&A with Raghu Ramakrishnan, new Yahoo! VP and Research Fellow

Earlier this summer, Dr. Raghu Ramakrishnan joined Yahoo! as Vice President and Yahoo! Research Fellow. Raghu joins us after 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was a professor of computer science and a co-founder of the Data Mining Institute. We sat down with Raghu to talk about his thoughts on joining Yahoo! and his mission to advance social search.

On Joining Yahoo!

Q: Did Yahoo! find you… or did you find Yahoo!?

A: I was at the University of Wisconsin for 20 years, only taking a brief sabbatical to start my own company called QUIQ. I have known Usama Fayyad for years, so he talked with me about joining Yahoo! Research when he heard I was considering leaving Madison. I spoke with colleagues at Google, Microsoft and IBM, as well as some other universities, but in the end, Yahoo! was an easy choice for many reasons.

I wanted to continue doing research, and I have also been interested in the web and online communities for a while. Yahoo! provided a natural fit for both my expertise in managing massive amounts of data and my interest in web communities. It's also nice that a company like Yahoo! is willing to embrace new ideas and invest in a world-class research organization, and then has the enormous customer-base and resources to execute on the ideas that emerge. At Yahoo! Research, you can take an idea and build around it, hang your shingle on the web, and get people to come try it out, all the while studying the underlying principles rigorously and addressing the challenges of building dynamic, scalable online systems ... this is not easy to do at a university.

Q: What can a database and data mining expert bring to a social search team?

A: Search should do more than connect a person and a web page. Search should reflect how people use the web to live their lives online, whether they are sharing photos, participating in groups, researching restaurants or swapping ideas. I think the next big step in search functionality will come from enabling users to share what they know, and Yahoo! already facilitates sharing in a myriad ways. The key to social search is taking this shared activity to the next level by using it to improve ranking of search results, and to connect people with others who are authorities on certain topics.

Read more.

KDnuggets : News : 2006 : n19 : item6 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

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