Search as Communication: Lessons from a Personal Journey
by Daniel Tunkelang (Head of Query Understanding, LinkedIn)
Presented at Etsy's Code as Craft Series on May 21, 2013
When I tell people I spent a decade studying computer science at MIT and CMU, most assume that I focused my studies in information retrieval — after all, I’ve spent most of my professional life working on search.
But that’s not how it happened. I learned about information extraction as a summer intern at IBM Research, where I worked on visual query reformulation. I learned how search engines work by building one at Endeca. It was only after I’d hacked my way through the problem for a few years that I started to catch up on the rich scholarly literature of the past few decades.
As a result, I developed a point of view about search without the benefit of academic conventional wisdom. Specifically, I came to see search not so much as a ranking problem as a communication problem.
In this talk, I’ll explain my communication-centric view of search, offering examples, general techniques, and open problems.
Daniel Tunkelang is Head of Query Understanding at LinkedIn. Educated at MIT and CMU, he has his career working on big data, addressing key challenges in search, data mining, user interfaces, and network analysis. He co-founded enterprise search and business intelligence pioneer Endeca, where he spent a decade as its Chief Scientist. In 2011, Endeca was acquired by Oracle for over $1B. Previous to LinkedIn, he led a team at Google working on local search quality. Daniel has authored fifteen patents, written a textbook on faceted search, and created the annual symposium on human-computer interaction and information retrieval.