Haifa Labs Team Organizes a "Mini Yahoo University" Event at the Technion Researchers' Night

Oct 22, 2012

The Haifa Labs team organized a "Mini Yahoo University" event at the Technion Researchers' Night event that was held on campus on September 24, and was open to all fans of Computer Science across the country. Above 3000 attendees of all ages attended the event and the Labs team had a perfect spot by the entrance that allowed us to attract and register more than 150 students. Our mini-university offered 3 sessions of "spotlight" classes of 15m each, each session adapted to a certain audience.
  • The first session for ages 10-15 (our mini BSc) gave a intro to Web search, explaining indexing and crawling in kids' terms as well as well as privacy on the Web.
  • Our second session for ages 15-18 (our mini MSc) went into more details, introducing high school students to the vector space model, and some research work on social networks, Yahoo Answers and cool Yahoo mobile apps such as Time Traveller.
  • Finally our last session (our mini PhD) covered usage data in Web search, an introduction to machine learning and an overview of the wisdom of crowds principle.
  Each session concluded with a graduation ceremony were students (from kids to seniors) were awarded a Yahoo Alumni Network kit (graciously provided by our Academic relations partners), with a branded tee-shirt, notebook, stickers, and even an alumni flag! In parallel to the mini-university, a "wisdom of crowds challenge" was conducted during which the audience was asked to bet on the weight of one of researchers, Gideon Dror, and the unicycle he was riding across campus. The winner of the challenge was awarded the unicycle during the last presentation of the mini-university, the "wisdom of crowds" class. This class compared our unicyle's experiment with the first experiment of the sort conducted by Galton in 1906 when he asked the farmers attending a fair to guess the weight of a live ox. Overall the event was a success, and many educators attending our mini university asked us to organize it again at their schools, those who smiled the most nevertheless, besides Gideon on his unicycle, were the members of the Labs team who had a blast organizing such an event and getting so much great feedback.