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K-State Today

March 9, 2012



Yahoo scientist to give two lectures today

By Susan Cregg

Raghu Ramakrishnan, chief scientist for search and cloud platforms at Yahoo and a Yahoo fellow heading the Web information management research group, will give two lectures today at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. in 122 Nichols Hall.

The first lecture is titled "The Future of Media: Content Organization, Social Networks, Interactivity – It's All Very Cloudy."

The nature of information discovery has been transformed over the past few years, and the nature of content publication – including journalism and authoring of all kinds – has been evolving in tandem. Ramakrishnan will discuss some of the underlying trends that have reshaped how users keep up with news – about the world, about their communities, about their friends and colleagues; discover and explore topics of interest; and search for specific information they require.

First, as people consume information increasingly from websites and digital devices, algorithmic techniques for selecting content have revolutionized the traditional notion of a static publication in which every user saw the same content and presentation: personalized, context-sensitive targeting is becoming the norm, and the role of an editor who shapes this user experience is changing so as to leverage the algorithmic tools to achieve a desired editorial voice. Second, social networks are emerging as a ubiquitous, near-instantaneous distribution channel that publishers must take into account in order to maximize their reach. Third, the distinction between searching for information and discovering information serendipitously is blurring: increasingly, contextual information is triggering relevant searchable companion experiences. For example, while watching a TV program, users can see a stream of relevant entities and topics such as celebrities in a movie or teams and players in a game of soccer, and by clicking retrieve more detailed information on these entities and topics. Finally, cloud computing is an enabling technology for virtually all of the above developments. Ramakrishnan will present an overview of these trends, highlighting the computational opportunities and challenges.

Ramakrishnan's second lecture is titled "Data Management in the Cloud."

Cloud computing is gaining adopting rapidly, fueled by the promise of pay-as-you-go services that you can scale up on demand. At the same time, organizations everywhere are recognizing the central role of data for a broad range of applications ranging from scientific advances to operational and strategic insights for companies. As a consequence of these complementary trends, data management services are becoming a focus of research, and data-centric cloud platforms are becoming the new battleground in data management. In this talk, Ramakrishnan will present an overview of several data-centric cloud platforms that he has worked on, to illustrate the scope of the challenges and opportunities in this area.

Both lectures are free and open to all students, faculty and staff.