Daniel Tunkelang – Search as Communication: Lessons from a Personal Journey with


When I tell people I spent a decade studying computer science at MIT and CMU, most assume that I focused my studies in information retrieval — after all, I’ve spent most of my professional life working on search.

But that’s not how it happened. I learned about information extraction as a summer intern at IBM Research, where I worked on visual query reformulation. I learned how search engines work by building one at Endeca. It was only after I’d hacked my way through the problem for a few years that I started to catch up on the rich scholarly literature of the past few decades.

As a result, I developed a point of view about search without the benefit of academic conventional wisdom. Specifically, I came to see search not so much as a ranking problem as a communication problem.

In this talk, I’ll explain my communication-centric view of search, offering examples, general techniques, and open problems.

About Daniel Tunkelang

Daniel Tunkelang is Head of Query Understanding at LinkedIn, where he previously served as Director of Data Science. Before that, he worked at Google on local search quality. He was the Chief Scientist and part of the founding team of Endeca, a leading vendor of search applications for enterprises that Oracle acquired in 2011 for $1.1B. He has also worked at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center and AT&T Bell Labs. He currently serves as an advisor for LoopIt, Maana, and Origami Logic.

Daniel pioneered the annual symposium on human-computer information retrieval and wrote the first book on faceted search. He was an undergraduate at MIT, double majoring in math and computer science. He completed a PhD at CMU, developing new algorithms for graph layout. He was born and bred in Brooklyn, and lived in New York City most of his life before moving from Brooklyn Heights to Mountain View in 2010 — where he’s still looking for a good bagels and a great karaoke joint.


Can't join us in person? This event will be streamed at 8pm Eastern.

Event Details

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

7:30-8:00 pm: Registration
8:00-9:00 pm: Presentation
9:00-10:00 pm: Social Hour

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