Language Technologies Institute Colloquium


Towards a Distributed Web Search Engine

In the ocean of Web data, Web search engines are the primary way to access content. As the data is on the order of petabytes, current search engines are very large centralized systems based on replicated clusters.   Web data, however, is always evolving. The number of active Web sites continues to grow (180 millions at the beginning of 2014) and there are currently more than hundreds of billion indexed pages. On the other hand, Internet users are above two billion and hundreds of million of queries are issued each day. In the near future, centralized systems are likely to become less effective against such a data-query load, thus suggesting the need of fully distributed search engines.  Such engines need to maintain high quality answers, fast response time, high query throughput, high availability and scalability; in spite of network latency and scattered data. In this talk we present the main challenges behind the design of a distributed Web retrieval system and our research in all the components of such web search engine: crawling, indexing, and query processing.


Ricardo Baeza-Yates is VP of Yahoo! Labs for Europe and Latin America, leading the labs at Barcelona, Spain and Santiago, Chile, since 2006. Between 2008 and 2012 he also oversaw the Haifa lab.  He is also part time Professor at the Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. During 2005 he was an ICREA research professor at the same university. Until 2004 he was Professor and Director of the Center for Web Research at the Dept. of Computing Science of the University of Chile (in leave of absence until today).

He obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in 1989. Before, he obtained two masters (M.Sc. CS & M. Eng. EE) and the electrical engineering degree from the University of Chile in Santiago. He is co-author of the best-seller Modern Information Retrieval textbook, published in 1999 by Addison-Wesley with a second enlarged edition in 2011, that won the ASIST 2012 Book of the Year award. He is also co-author of the 2nd edition of the Handbook of Algorithms and Data Structures, Addison-Wesley, 1991; and co-editor of Information Retrieval: Algorithms and Data Structures, Prentice-Hall, 1992, among more than 500 other publications. From 2002 to 2004 he was elected to the board of governors of the IEEE Computer Society and in 2012 he was elected for the ACM Council. He has received the Organization of American States award for young researchers in exact sciences (1993), the Graham Medal for innovation in computing given by the University of Waterloo to distinguished ex-alumni (2007), the CLEI Latin American distinction for contributions to CS in the region (2009), and the National Award of the Chilean Association of Engineers (2010), among other distinctions.  In 2003 he was the first computer scientist to be elected to the Chilean Academy of Sciences and since 2010 is a founding member of the Chilean Academy of Engineering. In 2009 he was named ACM Fellow and in 2011 IEEE Fellow.

Faculty Host: Jamie Callan

For More Information, Please Contact: