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UK varsity developing new type of Net search engine


15 June 2012

OneWorld South Asia

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Scientists at the University of Glasgow are participating in a novel project to develop a search engine which will draw its results from sensors located in the physical world. With a phenomenal growth of internet, public access to net-connected sensors such as cameras and microphones is increasing.

The European-funded project, called SMART, for ‘Search engine for Multimedia Environment generated content’, aims to develop and implement a system to allow internet users to search and analyse data from these sensors.

UK varsity developing new type of Net search engine
Image Credits: University of Glasgow

By matching search queries with information from sensors and cross-referencing data from social websites like  Twitter, users will be able to receive detailed responses to questions such as ‘What part of the city hosts live music events which my friends have been to recently?’ or ‘How busy is the city centre?’

At present, popular search engines such as Google are not able to answer search queries of this type.

Talking about the focus of research, Dr Iadh Ounis, Reader in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow says, “SMART aims to develop a search engine technology that combines information retrieved from sensors in the physical world and social networks such as Twitter.  By doing so, SMART aims to support users in finding interesting events happening in various locations of the city, and to also know what people are saying about these events on the networks such as social websites.”

“SMART builds upon the existing concept of ‘smart cities’, physical spaces which are covered in an array of sensors which can communicate with each other and can be searched for information. The search results sourced from these smart cities can be reused across multiple applications, making the system more effective.  ,” Dr Ounis explains.

“The SMART project will be built upon an open-source search engine technology known as Terrier we have been developing at the University since 2004. The SMART engine will be able to answer high-level queries by automatically identifying cameras, microphones and other sensors that can contribute to the query, then synthesizing results stemming from distributed sources in an efficient way. We expect that SMART will be tested in a real city by 2014,” adds Dr Ounis reveals.

The SMART project is a joint research initiative of nine partners which include Atos, Athens Information Technology, IBM’s Haifa Research Lab, Imperial College London, City of Santander, PRISA Digital, Telesto and Consorzio S3 Log.

This project is part of the University of Glasgow’s growing theme of research on sensor systems. The University aims to ensure that its research portfolio can provide entire sensor solutions, from novel physical sensors, to intelligent applications and visualisations of sensor inputs. The University is also part of the Scottish Sensor Systems Centre, which is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and collaboration between eight of Scotland’s leading universities and industry to undertake joint industrial/academic projects into sensor systems.

 
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