Google Research Blog
The latest news from Research at Google
Academic Successes in Cluster Computing
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Posted by Alfred Spector, VP of Research
Access to massive computing resources is foundational to Research and Development. Fifteen awardees of the National Science Foundation (NSF)
Cluster Exploratory Service
(CLuE) program have been applying large scale computational resources
donated by Google and IBM
Overall, 1,328 researchers have used the cluster to perform over 120 million computing tasks on the cluster and in the process, have published 49 scientific publications, educated thousands of students on parallel computing and supported numerous post-doctoral candidates in their academic careers. Researchers have used the program for such diverse fields as astronomy, oceanography and linguistics. Besides validating
as a useful tool in academic research, the program has also generated significant scientific knowledge.
Three years later, there are many viable, affordable alternatives to the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative, so we have decided to bring our part of the program to a close. It has been a great opportunity to collaborate with IBM, the NSF and the many universities on this program. It was state-of-the-art four years ago when it was started; now, Academic Cloud Computing is a worldwide phenomena and there are many low-cost cloud computing options that provide viable alternatives to the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative.
Measuring Ad Effectiveness Using Geo Experiments
Friday, December 09, 2011
Posted by Lizzy Van Alstine and Jon Vaver, Quantitative Analysis Team
Advertisers want to be able to measure the effectiveness of their advertising. Many methods have been used to address this need, but the most rigorous and trusted of these are randomized experiments, which involve randomly assigning experimental units to control and test conditions. At Google, we have found that randomized geo experiments are a powerful approach to measuring the effectiveness of advertising.
Many advertising platforms allow advertising to be targeted by geographical region. In these experiments, we first assign geographic regions to test or control conditions and employ AdWords’ geo-targeted advertising capabilities to increase or decrease the regional advertising spend accordingly. The use of randomized assignments guards against potential hidden test/control biases that could impact the measurements. Our approach also accounts for seasonal changes that impact the volume and cost of advertising across the length of the experiment.
, we describe the application of geo experiments for measuring the impact of advertising on consumer behavior (e.g. clicks, conversions, downloads, etc.). This description includes the results of a geo experiment that our research team ran for a Google advertiser.
ACM Fellows for 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Posted by Alfred Spector, Google Research
Cross-posted with the
Official Google Blog
Congratulations to three Googlers elected ACM Fellows
It gives me great pleasure to share that the
Association for Computing Machinery
that three Googlers have been elected ACM Fellows in 2011. The ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, and the Fellows Program celebrates the exceptional contributions of leaders in the computing field. This year the society has selected
Peter S. Magnusson
for their outstanding work, which has provided fundamental knowledge to the field.
The recently-named Fellows join 14
prior Googler ACM Fellows
and other professional society honorees in exemplifying our extraordinarily talented people. On behalf of Google, I congratulate our colleagues. They embody Google’s commitment to innovation with impact, and I hope that they’ll serve as inspiration to students as well as the broader community of computer scientists.
You can read more detailed summaries of their achievements below, including the official citations from the ACM.
Dr. Amit Singhal, Google Fellow
For contributions to search and information retrieval
Since 2000, Dr. Amit Singhal has been pioneering search as the technical lead for Google's core search algorithms. He is credited with most of the information retrieval design decisions in Google Search – a massive system that has responded to hundreds of billions of queries. More than anyone, Amit has a deep understanding of Google’s entire algorithmic system. He is responsible for prioritization and has overseen the development of numerous algorithmic signals and their progression over time. He is the clear thought and managerial leader who has led critically important initiatives at the company. Among many other things, Amit catalyzed Universal Search, which returns multi-modal results from all available corpora; he was the force behind Realtime Search, which returns results from dynamic corpora with low latency; and he championed Google Instant, which returns search results as the user types.
Prior to joining Google, Amit boasted a prolific publication record averaging 5 publications/year from 1996-9 while at AT&T Labs. Since that time, you could say Google Search has been one long, sustained publication demonstrating a constant advancement in the state of the art of information retrieval.
Peter S. Magnusson, Engineering Director
For contributions to full-system simulation
Peter has made a tremendous impact by driving full-system simulation. His approach was so advanced, it can be used in real world production of commercial CPUs and prototyping of system software. Starting in 1991, Peter began to challenge the notion that simulators could not be made fast enough to run large workloads, nor accurate enough to run commercial operating systems. His innovations in simulator design culminated in Simics, the first academic simulator that could boot and run commercial multiprocessor workloads. Simics saw huge academic success and has been used to run simulations for research presented in several hundred subsequent publications.
Peter founded Virtutech in 1998 to commercially develop Simics, and he ultimately forged and became the leader in a new market segment for software tools. With Peter at the helm, Virtutech pushed Simics beyond several performance barriers to make it the first simulator to exceed 1 billion instructions per second and the first simulator to model over 1,000 processors. Peter joined Google in 2010 to work with cloud computing.
Dr. Amin Vahdat, Principal Engineer
For contributions to data center scalability and management
Amin’s work made an impact at Google long before he arrived here. Amin is known for conducting research through bold, visionary projects that combine creativity with careful consideration of the engineering constraints needed to make them applicable in real world applications. Amin’s infrastructure ideas have underpinned the shift in the computing field from the pure client-server paradigm to a landscape in which major web services are hosted “in the cloud” across multiple data centers. In addition to pioneering “third-party cloud computing” through his work on WebOS and Rent-A-Server in the mid-90s, Amin has made important advancements in managing wide-area consistency between data centers, scalable modeling of data center applications, and building scalable data center networks.
Amin’s innovations have penetrated and broadly influenced the networking community within academia and industry, including Google, and his research has been recapitulated and expanded upon in a number of publications. Conferences that formerly did not even cover data centers now have multiple sessions covering variants of what Amin and his team have proposed. At Google, Amin continues to drive next-generation data center infrastructure focusing on Software Defined Networking and new opportunities from optical technologies. This is emblematic of Amin’s ability to build real systems, and perhaps more significantly, convince people of their value.
Our second round of Google Research Awards for 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education & University Relations
We’ve just finished the review process for the latest round of the
Google Research Awards
, which provide funding to full-time faculty working on research in areas of mutual interest with Google. We are delighted to be funding 119 awards across 21 different focus areas for a total of $6 million. The subject areas that received the highest level of support this time were systems and infrastructure, human-computer interaction, social and mobile. In addition, 24% of the funding was awarded to universities outside the U.S.
One way in which we measure the impact of the research award program is through surveys of Principal Investigators (PIs) and their Google sponsors (a Googler with whom grantees can discuss research directions, provide progress updates, engage in knowledge transfer, etc.). Here are some highlights from our most recent survey, covering projects funded over the last two years:
433 papers were published as a result of a Google research award
126 projects made data sets or software publicly available
63 research talks were given by sponsored PIs at Google offices
An important aspect of the program is that it often gives early career academics a head start on their research agenda. Many new PIs commented on how a Google research award allowed them to explore their initial ideas and build a foundation for obtaining more significant funding from other sources. This type of seed funding is especially hard to get in the current economic environment.
The goal of the research award program is to initiate and sustain strong collaborations with our academic colleagues. The collaborations take many forms, from working on a project together, to co-writing a paper, to coming to Google to give a research talk. Whatever the form, the most important aspect is building strong relationships that last. Case in point, many of our
(multi-year, unrestricted grants that include access to Google’s tools, technology and expertise) started as Google research awards.
Congratulations to the
well-deserving recipients of this round’s awards
, and if you are interested in applying for the next round (deadline is April 15), please visit
for more information.
2011 Google China Faculty Summit in Hangzhou
Friday, December 02, 2011
Posted by Aimin Zhu, University Relationship Manager, Google China
We just wrapped up a highly successful 2011 Google China Faculty Summit in
. On November 17 and 18, Googlers from China and the U.S. gathered with more than 80 faculty members representing more than 45 universities and institutes, including Tsinghua University, Peking University and The Chinese Academy of Sciences. The two-day event revolved around the theme of “Communication, Exploration and Expansion,” with day one covering research and day two focusing on academic development.
The summit provided a unique setting for both sides to share the results of their research and exchange ideas. Speakers included:
Maggie Johnson, director of education and university relations at Google, presenting on innovation in Google research and global university relations programs,
Dr. Boon-Lock Yeo, head of engineering and research for Google China, providing an overview of innovation in China engineering and corporate social responsibility efforts and accomplishments, and
Prof. Edward Chang, director of research for Google China, delivering a keynote on mobile information management and retrieval.
The discussions on November 17 focused on two tracks, mobile computing and natural language processing, while discussions on November 18 focused on curriculum development with a special focus on Android app development. The attendees also spent time discussing joint research and development between universities and industry.
This summit is part of a continuing to effort to collaborate with Chinese universities in order to support education in China. Click
for a list of the variety of education programs we have launched there in recent years. We look forward to expanding partnership opportunities in the future.
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