Winners Announced for Microsoft Live Labs Search RFP
June 01, 2006
Twelve research grants awarded to help fund innovation in search technology.

REDMOND, Wash. — June 1, 2006 — Microsoft Live Labs today announced 12 winners of its Accelerating Search in Academic Research request for proposals (RFP). The RFP, which generated more than 180 applications from all over the world, was issued to discover and fund academic research that will improve Internet search technologies, and data mining, discovery and analysis.

“As anyone who uses the Internet knows, it’s not really about ‘search’ — it’s about ‘discover,’” said Gary William Flake, Ph.D., founder and director of Live Labs and a Technical Fellow at Microsoft. “Through this RFP process, we have found a wealth of academic talent and ideas for search and algorithm development that we think will transform our ability to harness the power of the Web in the years to come, allowing users to focus less on the work of searching and instead reap the rewards of discovery.”

The Live Labs Search RFP continues a long history of cooperation between Microsoft Research and the academic community to encourage research and innovation. Each of the RFP winners demonstrated unique, novel and innovative approaches to advancing the state of the art in the highly competitive Internet search arena, and each will be awarded between $25,000 and $50,000 (U.S.) to fund continued efforts. The total funding amount is $500,000. Awardees will also gain access to extensive data logs from MSN to aid in their research, as well as an increased quota of queries to the MSN® Search software development kit, which gives them programmatic access to real-world search results from MSN. Microsoft Live Labs believes that increased availability of relevant, large and current data sets from MSN Search to academia supports new data analysis and algorithm development in the Internet search arena.

“It is very difficult to access large volumes of real data,” said recipient Amélie Marian of Rutgers University. “Being able to work on a large excerpt of real search query logs, including per-query search result click-through, will be a very valuable resource to understand how users search and access information.”

Recipients of the Live Labs grants, the general categories of their research and the titles of their RFP proposals are listed here:

  • Eytan Adar, Brian Bershad, Steven Gribble, Daniel Weld — University of Washington (U.S.):

    • General research: machine learning, human-computer interaction, data mining

    • Proposal title: “Vinegar: Leading Indicators in Query Logs”

  • Lada Adamic, Suresh Bhavnani — University of Michigan (U.S.):

    • General research: natural language processing, human-computer interaction

    • Proposal title: “VISP: Visualizing Information Search Processes”

  • Soumen Chakrabarti — Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (India):

    • General research: machine learning, information retrieval, natural language processing

    • Proposal title: “Entity and Relation Types in Web Search: Annotation Indexing and Scoring Techniques”

  • Kevin Chang — University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U.S.):

    • General research: information retrieval, information integration

    • Proposal title: “Deepening Search: From the Surface to the Deep Web”

  • Bruce Croft — University of Massachusetts at Amherst (U.S.):

    • General research: information retrieval

    • Proposal title: “Discovering and Using Meta-Terms”

  • Brian Davison — Lehigh University (U.S.):

    • General research: machine learning, information retrieval

    • Proposal title: “Incorporating Trust Into Web Authority”

  • Zoubin Ghahramani — University of Cambridge (England), Carnegie Mellon University (U.S.), University College London (England):

    • General research: machine learning, information retrieval

    • Proposal title: “Statistical Machine Learning for User Modelling”

  • Anindya Ghose, Panagiotis Ipeirotis— New York University (U.S.):

    • General research: machine learning, information retrieval, econometrics

    • Proposal title: “Combining Econometric and Text Mining Approaches for Measuring the Effect of Online Information Exchange”

  • Amélie Marian — Rutgers University (U.S.):

    • General research: information retrieval

    • Proposal title: “The Truth Is out There: Aggregating Answers From Multiple Web Sources”

  • Alistair Moffat — University of Melbourne (Australia):

    • General research: information retrieval

    • Proposal title: “Predictive Exploitation of Click-Through Knowledge”

  • Gerd Stumme — University of Kassel (Germany):

    • General research: machine learning, information retrieval, social software

    • Proposal title: “Social Search: Bringing the Social Component to the Web”

  • ChengXiang Zhai — University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U.S.):

    • General research: machine learning, information retrieval

    • Proposal title: “Mining Query/Click Logs for Collaborative Internet Search”

More information about the grant recipients and their projects as well as other funding opportunities can be found at http://research.microsoft.com/ur and in the Feature Stories section of Microsoft Corp.’s PressPass media relations Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass.

About Microsoft Live Labs

Microsoft Live Labs is a partnership between MSN and Microsoft Research focused on applied research for Internet-enabled products and services. Live Labs includes people with many different skills and perspectives on Internet technologies, including researchers, engineers, developers and designers. Together, they foster research programs, rapidly prototype and launch emerging technologies, incubate entirely new inventions, and improve and accelerate Windows Live™ product offerings. The Live Labs team collaborates closely with researchers in the academic community through research grants, fellowships, workshops, conference sponsorships, sabbaticals, internships and more. More information about Microsoft Live Labs can be found at http://labs.live.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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