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Airdate: Jan 30, 2017
Scientist: Alan Wang

Next Generation Search - Finding Experts

Next Generation Search - Finding Experts
It's people, not answers.

Transcript:
Next Gen Search Finding Experts

The next generation of search engines won't necessarily answer your question directly, but they'll find the person who can. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Wang: Instead of finding the information relevant to your problems, can we just find the right person to answer your question? After all, internet is made of virtual users, so we don't see each other. We do not know their backgrounds. The only thing we can know, those virtual users, is by their activities online. There are a lot of online knowledge communities where people share their information and knowledge.

Alan Wang is an associate professor in business information technology at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.

Wang: Let's say a user experiences a car engine problem. The user can find a online discussion forum for the particular car he's driving and type in the search key word and he can find a bunch of results back, but you don't want to go through those web pages and see if the actual solution is buried somewhere, because there's so many pages that are returned by the search engine, and you don't have the time to go through each one of them. So probably it's more efficient to find a user who has a certain knowledge for the problem you experience. We have developed an algorithm to find out the list of users who have knowledge of a particular problem and also who have a lot of activities with other users in the community. So instead of searching for web pages that are are related to the user's question, the service would bring back a list experts, who are better equipped to answer the questions. The service currently is not available, but we are building a demonstration website to showcase the capability, in case any provider is interested. We can provide this component to their existing community.

We'll hear more about finding expert advise online in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.