Archive for the ‘technology and internet’ Category

Questions vs. Queries in Informational Search Tasks

May 29, 2015 Comments off

Questions vs. Queries in Informational Search Tasks
Source: Microsoft Research

Search systems traditionally require searchers to formulate information needs as keywords rather than in a more natural form, such as questions. Recent studies have found that Web search engines are observing an increase in the fraction of queries phrased as natural language. As part of building better search engines, it is important to understand the nature and prevalence of these intentions, and the impact of this increase on search engine performance. In this work, we show that while 10.3% of queries issued to a search engine have direct question intent, only 3.2% of them are formulated as natural language questions. We investigate whether search engines perform better when search intent is stated as queries or questions, and we find that they perform equally well to both.

Categories: Microsoft Research, search

Report of Findings from an Open Data Roundtable with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

May 28, 2015 Comments off

Report of Findings from an Open Data Roundtable with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PDF)
Source: U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (GovLab)

Today, data is widely recognized as not just an important tool, but a platform for innovation, and this Administration has taken many important steps towards making government data more open and accessible to the public. As Secretary Pritzker has said, the Department of Commerce is “America’s Data Agency,” and has a unique and central role in unlocking the potential of government data.

For the USPTO, disclosing and disseminating data go to the very heart of our mission. After all, the patent system rests on the bargain an inventor makes when he or she discloses an invention and teaches the public how it works, and in turn receives the right to exclude others from practicing it. From that perspective, the USPTO has been in the business of open data for a very long time. Our data lets inventors and businesses know when they need to invent around a technology and when they need to consider a license, which serves as fuel for our nation’s innovation engine. If we are going to live up to our mission to disseminate information about patents and trademarks, it requires an agency-wide commitment to the principles of open data—a commitment that the USPTO has made.

An objective look at high-frequency trading

May 28, 2015 Comments off

An objective look at high-frequency trading
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

Today’s trading is complex and frequently involves little human intervention. Five years after the “Flash Crash,” do you know how high frequency trading and dark pools work? Our new report separates fact from fiction.

Selection of Statistical Software for Solving Big Data Problems

May 27, 2015 Comments off

Selection of Statistical Software for Solving Big Data Problems
Source: Sage Open

The need for analysts with expertise in big data software is becoming more apparent in today’s society. Unfortunately, the demand for these analysts far exceeds the number available. A potential way to combat this shortage is to identify the software taught in colleges or universities. This article will examine four data analysis software—Excel add-ins, SPSS, SAS, and R—and we will outline the cost, training, and statistical methods/tests/uses for each of these software. It will further explain implications for universities and future students.

Information Retrieval with Verbose Queries

May 23, 2015 Comments off

Information Retrieval with Verbose Queries
Source: Microsoft Research

Recently, the focus of many novel search applications shifted from short keyword queries to verbose natural language queries. Examples include question answering systems and dialogue systems, voice search on mobile devices and entity search engines like Facebook’s Graph Search or Google’s Knowledge Graph. However the performance of textbook information retrieval techniques for such verbose queries is not as good as that for their shorter counterparts. Thus, effective handling of verbose queries has become a critical factor for adoption of information retrieval techniques in this new breed of search applications. Over the past decade, the information retrieval community has deeply explored the problem of transforming natural language verbose queries using operations like reduction, weighting, expansion, reformulation and segmentation into more effective structural representations. However, thus far, there was not a coherent and organized tutorial on this topic. In this tutorial, we aim to put together various research pieces of the puzzle, provide a comprehensive and structured overview of various proposed methods, and also list various application scenarios where effective verbose query processing can make a significant difference.

How fast are semiconductor prices falling?

May 22, 2015 Comments off

How fast are semiconductor prices falling?
Source: American Enterprise Institute

Editor’s note: This paper has been updated from the original version posted in July 2014.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for the United States suggests that semiconductor prices have barely been falling in recent years, a dramatic contrast from the rapid declines reported from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s. This slowdown in the rate of decline is puzzling in light of evidence that the performance of microprocessor units (MPUs) has continued to improve at a rapid pace. Roughly coincident with the shift to slower price declines in the PPI, Intel — the leading producer of MPUs — substantially changed its pricing behavior for these chips. As a result of this change, we argue that the matched-model methodology used in the PPI for MPUs likely started to be biased in the mid-2000s and that hedonic indexes can provide a more accurate measure of price change since then. Our preferred hedonic index of MPU prices tracks the PPI closely through 2004. However, from 2004 to 2008, our preferred index fell faster than the PPI, and from 2008 to 2013 the gap widened further, with our preferred index falling at an average annual rate of 43 percent, while the PPI declined at only an 8 percent rate. Given that MPUs currently represent about half of U.S. shipments of semiconductors, this difference has important implications for gauging the rate of innovation in the semiconductor sector.

EU — Cybersecurity: Jihadism and the internet

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Cybersecurity: Jihadism and the internet
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in March 2011, the numbers of European citizens supporting or joining the ranks of ISIL/Da’esh have been growing steadily, and may now be as high as 4 000 individuals. At the same time, the possible avenues for radicalisation are multiplying and the risks of domestic terrorism increasing. The proliferation of global jihadi messaging online and their reliance on social networks suggest that the internet is increasingly a tool for promoting jihadist ideology, collecting funds and mobilising their ranks.


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