Grant to help researchers build better search engines

( -- Two UT Arlington computer science engineering faculty are developing a new Internet search engine that treats the Web more like a massive database.

Chengkai Li and Gautam Das, both Department of and Engineering faculty, have won a three-year, $499,713 National Science Foundation grant to develop a new search engine that uses simple queries to address complex information needs. Their system allows searches involving multiple entities and assesses how entities are related.

“The beauty of this is that you can combine the simplicity of keyword search and the expressiveness of database query to find fascinating entities,” Li said.

With existing search engines, a person looking for information about businesses started by UT Arlington graduates would have to break down their task into several separate searches, read many result pages and manually synthesize the information, Li said.

“Our system would allow us to simply write a database-style query that specifies what to do instead of the grueling details of how to do it,” Li said. “The system automatically processes the query and obtains answers, saving us from the painful steps of searching, reading, and re-searching.”

Das said the would be able to look at entity types such as UT Arlington graduates and startup businesses and relate them to each other.

The goal of the project is to make queries more successful and accessible to common users, Li said.

“You shouldn’t have to be able to know some computer language to perform a comprehensive, but pointed search that yields results you can use,” Li said.

More information: See the project web page at for a demonstration.

Provided by University of Texas at Arlington

Citation: Grant to help researchers build better search engines (2010, November 3) retrieved 31 May 2023 from
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