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Bay Area Search - Jan Pedersen & Omar Alonso, Microsoft

  • Nov 28, 2012 · 6:30 PM

Bay Area Search - Jan Pedersen, Microsoft

Jan O. Pedersen, Chief Scientist for Core Search at Microsoft

Intent Mining from Search Results

Intro to Web Search Free text queries Architecture Why it works Result Set Mining Disambiguation Correction Amplification

Omar Alonso, Senior Technical Lead, Microsoft

Social annotations: utility and prediction modeling

Social features are increasingly integrated within the search results page of the main commercial search engines. There is, however, little understanding of the utility of social features in traditional search. In this paper, we study utility in the context of social annotations, which are markings indicating that a person in the social network of the user has liked or shared a result document. We introduce a taxonomy of social relevance aspects that influence the utility of social annotations in search, spanning query classes, the social network, and content relevance. We present the results of a user study quantifying the utility of social annotations and the interplay between social relevance aspects. Through the user study we gain insights on conditions under which social annotations are most useful to a user. Finally, we present machine learned models for predicting the utility of a social annotation using the user study judgments as an optimization criterion. We model the learning task with features drawn from web usage logs, and show empirical evidence over real-world head and tail queries that the problem is learnable and that in many cases we can predict the utility of a social annotation.


Dr Pedersen began his career at Xerox PARC where he lead a research group investigating information access technologies. In 1996 he joined Verity, the enterprise search software vendor, as manager of the Advanced Technology Group. In 1998 Dr Pedersen joined Infoseek as Director for Search and Spidering. In 2002 Dr Pedersen joined AltaVista as Chief Scientist. AltaVista was purchased by Overture which again was later purchased by Yahoo! Dr. Pedersen served as Chief Scientist for Yahoo!'s Search and Advertising Technology group until 2008. Dr Pedersen is currently Chief Scientist for Core Search at Microsoft.

Dr. Pedersen holds a PhD in statistics from Stanford University and a BA in statistics from Princeton University. He is credited with more than ten issued patents and has authored more than twenty refereed publications refereed on information access topics, seven of which are in the Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) proceedings.

Omar Alonso is a senior technical lead on Bing's social search team in Mountain View, CA. He has been working on social search and crowdsourcing for the last few years in industry and as a researcher applying these techniques for a diverse set of applications. He has published a number of articles on top conferences and participated in many workshops and meetups. His interest are information retrieval, temporal retrieval, human computation/crowdsourcing, evaluation, social search, and information visualization. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of California at Davis.


applied research, web search development, sponsored search development, online advertising

6:30 Eat & Greet

7:00 Talks - Great speakers, good food, free beer.

Event will be held at the eBay campus just off 17/880 @ Hamilton in the main Community building.  Look for lobby/flagpole.

Wifi: eBayGuest/BuyItNow!

I'm always looking for speakers.  Please suggest speakers or topics you would like to hear.


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  • Stoney V.

    Both Jan Pedersen and Omar Alonso gave excellent presentations. Thank you for offering to provide copies of the papers :)

    1 · November 28, 2012

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