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UC Berkeley School of Information Management Systems offering an all-star speaker series on Internet search engines

– This fall, the UC Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems (SIMS) is offering a new course that examines Internet search engines and that features lectures by an all-star cast of experts from academia and industry. Campus members are welcome to attend the lectures, which include major speakers from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and several UC Berkeley academic departments.

Because the class, "Search Engines: Technology, Society, and Business" (IS 141), is a general-interest course, it is open to all undergraduate students. The course will examine how search engines work and explore how search engine design impacts business and culture. Topics include search advertising and auctions, search and privacy, search ranking, the spy-vs-spy aspect of anti-spam efforts and search engine optimizers, intellectual property and search, multimedia search, computer architecture for search, desktop search, personalization in search, and search of blogs and online communities.

Search engines are an integral part of the education students receive at SIMS. An interdisciplinary program, SIMS students learn how to design and develop systems and policies that meet the needs and protect the rights of different information users - ranging from individuals to society as a whole. The faculty have diverse backgrounds, including computer science, economics, law, political science, and sociology.

SIMS is particularly rich in expertise on search engines. The course organizer, Marti Hearst, is an associate professor at SIMS (with an affiliate position in the Computer Science Division). Hearst has done extensive research on search user interfaces and has written the leading textbook chapter on user interfaces in search. She is also on Yahoo!'s Science Advisory Board for Search. Another SIMS professor, Ray Larson, has developed distributed search engine technologies. Last month, UC Berkeley and Yahoo! announced a research lab in Berkeley, which is being directed by another SIMS professor, Marc Davis. Many SIMS masters students graduates have taken jobs at search engine and related companies, including Google, Yahoo!, and eBay.

Although SIMS does not offer an undergraduate degree, it is now offering an array of new general-interest courses for UC Berkeley's undergraduates. In addition to the search engines course, these new classes include a course this fall called "Information Technology for Competitive Advantage" (IS 184), taught by professor Larry Downes, and "Foundations of New Media"(IS 146), a course taught last spring by professor Marc Davis.

Campus members interested in attending the Search Engines class lectures can sign up for e-mail announcements about the speakers and the dates they will be appearing at the course website at http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/courses/is141/f05/.

Course speakers and topics (subject to change):

  • Topic: Search and Society
    Speaker: John Battelle, visiting professor, UC Berkeley Journalism School, and author of the forthcoming book "The Search: Business and Culture in the Age of Google."
  • Topic: How Search Engines work; Usability and Search
    Speakers: Dr. Jan Pedersen, Yahoo Search, manager of Search Relevance. Dr. Dan Rose: Yahoo Search
  • Topic: Search Personalization, News Search, student-chosen topics
    Speakers: Dr. Peter Norvig, Google, director of Search Quality, and Dr. Sepandar Kamvar, Google, formerly co-founder of Kaltix.
  • Topic: Search Ad Auctions
    Speaker: Dr. Hal Varian, professor of SIMS, Economics, and Business at UC Berkeley, consultant to Google, New York Times columnist.
  • Topic: Desktop Search, WebSpam
    Speakers: Dr. Sue Dumais, Microsoft Research, and Dr. Marc Najork,: Microsoft Research
  • Topic: Search and Privacy
    Speaker: Dr. Doug Tygar, professor of SIMS and EECS at UC Berkeley.
  • Topic: Search Engine Architecture
    Speakers: Dr. Alma Whitten, Google, and Dr. Eric Brewer, professor of EECS at UC Berkeley and co-founder of Inktomi Corp.
  • Topic: Search Business Strategy
    Speaker: Jeff Weiner, Yahoo Search, chief technology officer.
  • Topic: Multimedia Search
    Speaker: Dr. Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo, director of Media and Desktop Search. Formerly co-founder and CTO of Virage.
  • Topic: Search Engine Optimizers
    Speaker: Dr. Avi Rappoport, SearchTools.com.
  • Topic: Search and Online Communities
    Speaker: Mary Hodder, MIMS graduate and Online Community expert.