Gerard Salton

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In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

That was the power of AltaVista: its breadth. When DEC opened it to outsiders on December 15, 1995, nearly 300,000 people tried it out. They were dazzled. AltaVista’s actual search quality techniques—what determined the ranking of results—were based on traditional information retrieval (IR) algorithms. Many of those algorithms arose from the work of one man, a refugee from Nazi Germany named Gerard Salton, who had come to America, got a PhD at Harvard, and moved to Cornell University, where he cofounded its computer science department. Searching through databases using the same commands you’d use with a human—“natural language” became the term of art—was Salton’s specialty. During the 1960s, Salton developed a system that was to become a model for information retrieval. It was called SMART, supposedly an acronym for “Salton’s Magical Retriever of Text.”

And Bharat had another friend who was among the best catches of all: Amit Singhal. Born in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas, Singhal had arrived in the United States in 1992 to pursue a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Minnesota. He’d become fascinated with the field then known as information retrieval and was desperate to study with its pioneering innovator, Gerard Salton. “I only applied to one grad school, and it was Cornell,” he says. “And I wrote in my statement of purpose that if I was ever going to get a PhD, it’s with Gerry Salton. Otherwise, I didn’t think a PhD was worth it.” He became Salton’s assistant, got his PhD at Cornell, and eventually wound up at AT&T Labs. In 1999, Singhal ran into Bharat at a conference in Berkeley. Bharat told him he was leaving DEC for an exciting start-up that wanted to take on the biggest problems in search.


pages: 1,535 words: 337,071

Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World by David Easley, Jon Kleinberg

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, clean water, conceptual framework, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Douglas Hofstadter, Erdős number, experimental subject, first-price auction, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Gödel, Escher, Bach, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, information retrieval, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, longitudinal study, market clearing, market microstructure, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Pareto efficiency, Paul Erdős, planetary scale, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, search engine result page, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Simon Singh, slashdot, social web, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vannevar Bush, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

An adaptive algorithm for selecting profitable keywords for search-based advertising services. In Proc. 7th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, pages 260–269, 2006. [352] Bryce Ryan and Neal C. Gross. The diffusion of hybrid seed corn in two Iowa communities. Rural Sociology, 8:15–24, 1943. [353] Matthew Salganik, Peter Dodds, and Duncan Watts. Experimental study of inequality and unpredictability in an artificial cultural market. Science, 311:854–856, 2006. [354] Gerard Salton and M.J. McGill. Introduction to Modern Information Retrieval. McGraw-Hill, 1983. [355] Oskar Sandberg. Neighbor selection and hitting probability in small-world graphs. Annals of Applied Probability, 18(5):1771–1793, 2008. [356] Alvaro Sandroni. Do markets favor agents able to make accurate predictions? Econometrica, 68:1303–1342, 2000. [357] Leonard Savage. The Foundations of Statistics.