Task-specific Search

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 7:00pm
Michael Stonebraker, MIT and Goby, Inc.
Michael Stonebraker

Historically, search engines have focused on searching the entire web for objects of interest using a single “one-size-fits-all” keyword query system supported by word-oriented indexing. In a task-specific search application such as real estate values (Zillow.com), airline tickets (Kayak, et. al..) and comparison shopping, such general purpose information retrieval (IR) techniques can be drastically improved. One can leverage any or all of the following to generate a vastly improved search experience.

  • a task-specific user-interface for queries
  • a task-specific user interface for displaying results
  • a task-specific data model for semantically organizing data
  • a curation mechanism for deciding which sites have potentially valuable data
  • a mechanism for searching such web sites and converting returned data to this model (semantic data integration)
  • a mechanism for searching for data that is behind HTML forms (the so-called deep web)
  • a task-specific ranking system to order the presentation of returned data
  • a task-specific mechanism for caching popular (static) returned data

This talk describes a task-specific search engine, Morpheus, built at MIT and explains how it solves the above issues. Then, we describe the changes that Goby made to Morpheus to produce a commercial product. We conclude with a demo of the Goby product.

This joint meeting of the Boston Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM.

Mike Stonebraker is Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at M.I.T. and CTO of 3 companies that are commercializing new database related technologies that he initiated. He is widely recognized as one of the world's foremost experts in database technology and is noted for his insight in operating systems and expert systems. Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree from Princeton University and Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Michigan. He has held visiting professorships at the Pontifico Universitade Catholique (PUC), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of Grenoble, France. Dr. Stonebraker was the main architect of the INGRES relational DBMS, and the object-relational DBMS, POSTGRES. These prototypes were developed at the University of California at Berkeley where Stonebraker was a Professor of Computer Science for twenty five years. More recently at M.I.T. he was a co-architect of the Aurora/Borealis stream processing engine, the C-Store column-oriented DBMS, the H-Store transaction engine, and the Morpheus search engine, all of which have been commercialized. Presently he serves as Chief Technology Officer of Vertica (commercial C-Store), VoltDB (commercial H-Store), and Goby (commercial Morpheus). Professor Stonebraker is the author of scores of research papers on data base technology, operating systems and the architecture of system software services. He was awarded the ACM System Software Award in 1992, for his work on INGRES. Additionally, he was awarded the first annual Innovation award by the ACM SIGMOD special interest group in 1994, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997. He was awarded the IEEE John Von Neumann award in 2005, and is presently an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at MIT, where he is working on a variety of future-generation data-oriented projects.