Keynote Speakers

Amit Singhal

Title: Challenges in Running a Commercial Search Engine

These are exciting times for Information Retrieval. Web search engines have brought IR to the masses. It now affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and growing, as Internet search companies launch ever more products based on techniques developed in IR research.

The real world poses unique challenges for search algorithms. They operate at unprecedented scales, and over a wide diversity of information. In addition, we have entered an unprecedented world of "Adversarial Information Retrieval". The lure of billions of dollars of commerce, guided by search engines, motivates all kinds of people to try all kinds of tricks to get their sites to the top of the search results.

What techniques do people use to defeat IR algorithms? What are the evaluation challenges for a web search engine? How much impact has IR had on search engines? How does Google serve over 250 Million queries a day, often with sub-second response times? This talk will show that the world of algorithm and system design for commercial search engines can be described by two of Murphy's Laws: a) If anything can go wrong, it will, and b) If anything cannot go wrong, it will anyway.


Amit Singhal is a Google Distinguished Engineer. His research interests include Information Retrieval, its application to Web search, Web graph analysis, and User Interfaces for search. Amit has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from IIT, Roorkee, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University. At Cornell, Amit studied Information Retrieval with the late Gerard Salton, one of the founders of the field. Amit has co-authored over thirty scientific papers and numerous patents. Prior to joining Google, Amit was a senior member of technical staff at AT&T Labs.

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