Yahoo's Top Scientists Gather at Science Week to Celebrate Fifth Anniversary of Yahoo Labs and Map the Next Generation of the Web

Aug 18, 2010

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Aug 12, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) this week convened more than 200 of the company's leading scientists to examine the most important trends and questions about the future of the Web at Yahoo Labs' annual Science Week event. Yahoo also celebrated the fifth anniversary of Yahoo Labs, one of the world's premier industrial research organizations. "Yahoo Labs is tackling the biggest scientific questions facing the industry and Yahoo -- from how to define what's personally meaningful to the billions of people online, to investigating what the Web can teach us about ourselves and society," said Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan, Yahoo's chief scientist and head of Yahoo Labs. "I joined Yahoo with the belief that we would be the ultimate environment for inventing the new sciences of the Internet, and in the past five years that belief has been proven true time and time again. Our scientists conduct research at unparalleled scale in the real world." Highlighted topics at this year's Yahoo Labs Science Week include:

  • Accelerating the shift of advertising dollars to online media by pioneering new digital advertising science and technologies, like Computational Advertising, and improving the measurement of advertising effectiveness
  • Personalizing the user experience on the Web while maintaining leading consumer privacy protection
  • Exploring group-based communications and the implications for helping people manage their diverse social spheres
  • Developing new experiences based on the growing flow of social and real-time data on the Web
  • Pushing the boundaries of machine learning across a variety of Web applications
  • Innovating on cloud computing systems and open-source software

Formally created in 2005, Yahoo Labs has expanded globally with offices in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle East. Scientists at Yahoo Labs have made significant contributions to the industry by producing more than 1,000 papers, workshops, and presentations for conferences and academic journals. Labs scientists have won numerous "best paper" awards, including seven in 2009 and four to date in 2010. "Yahoo Labs is a unique industrial research lab which promotes academic-style research that advances the frontiers of science, but wisely focuses on a few areas key to Yahoo's business," said Jeannette M. Wing, the president's professor of computer science and department head of the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University, and the former assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF). "It also engages directly and openly with the academic community, providing academics resources to which the community otherwise would not have access to. For example, through a partnership with the National Science Foundation, Yahoo, along with HP and Intel, through their Open Cirrus effort, helped provide a cluster computer hosted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This industry-government-academia collaboration enabled the entire academic community reached by the NSF, to conduct novel experimental research in cloud computing." In addition to advancing a variety of technical disciplines, such as information retrieval, Web mining, microeconomics, social systems, and machine learning, Yahoo Labs has made many contributions to Yahoo by building cutting-edge science into the company's products and computing infrastructure. Science and engineering teams at Yahoo continually improve Yahoo's business by analyzing real-world data to extend Yahoo's competitive advantage in a number of categories, from online advertising to media, communications, and content discovery. These innovations from Yahoo Labs leverage Yahoo's global platforms and technology infrastructure with both the Yahoo Cloud and Hadoop -- the latter an open-source technology pioneered by Yahoo that sits at the epicenter of big data and cloud computing -- making it possible for Yahoo Labs' scientists to conduct experiments at scale, iterate on systems and algorithms, and crunch the massive amounts of data generated on the Web. About Yahoo Yahoo attracts hundreds of millions of users every month through its innovative technology and engaging content and services, making it one of the most visited Internet destinations and a world-class online media company. Yahoo's vision is to be the center of people's online lives by delivering personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences. Yahoo is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit or the company's blog, Yodel Anecdotal ( Yahoo is the trademark and/or registered trademark of Yahoo Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners. ADDENDUM: BACKGROUND ABOUT YAHOO! LABS Yahoo Labs is a leading industrial research and development organization, focused on the science and technologies of the Internet. Its mission is to advance the state of the art across its areas of focus and create insights, driving the next generation of businesses for Yahoo. Yahoo Labs is led by Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan and organized into three areas: research, applied sciences, and academic relations. Examples of Yahoo Labs contributions to Yahoo's business include: Revolutionizing Display Advertising Yahoo is the world leader in online display advertising, reporting 19 percent year-over-year growth in the category for Q2 2010. Fueling this growth is the science of Computational Advertising, a discipline invented at Yahoo Labs that combines information retrieval, machine learning, and microeconomics to optimize the best ads for Yahoo to display on each page it serves. An enhancement to Yahoo's ad-serving platform earlier this year, Computational Advertising was developed and deployed by Yahoo Labs in partnership with product and engineering teams, improving the accuracy of ad placements and inventory-supply forecasts by a factor of three and optimizing about 20 billion ads a day -- making sure the most relevant ads are served to the right audience at the right time. Personalization at Massive, Global Scale Every five minutes, Yahoo serves around 32,000 customized variations of the Today Module on its homepage. This deep personalization is delivered by Yahoo's content optimization technology, which was developed in Yahoo Labs. The new technology has proven to be a powerful driver of user engagement, a key metric of Yahoo's ability to deepen its relationship with its audience of more than 600 million visitors, as click-through rates on Today Module stories have increased 160 percent to date. Breakthrough Innovations in Search Yahoo Labs has helped power numerous Yahoo innovations in search, including:
  • Techniques for understanding user intent and the relevance of search results
  • Yahoo's Search Pad, which captures, organizes, saves, and shares search results
  • Yahoo's first-to-market "Search Assist," which gives people search suggestions as they type
  • The "Trending Now" module on the Yahoo homepage, which highlights the most popular and relevant search topics on Yahoo

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: SOURCE: Yahoo Inc. OutCast Communications Melika Mizany, 1-415-345-4779 or Yahoo Global Communications Denis Roy, 1-408-349-2570 Copyright Business Wire 2010