Yahoo! names Key Scientific Challenge winners

Two computer science graduate students who work in Andrew McCallum''s Information Extraction and Synthesis Laboratory, Sameer Singh of New Delhi and Michael Wick of Amherst, are winners of Yahoo!’s 2010 Key Scientific Challenges for their research proposals submitted to Yahoo!

The company’s scientists and leaders saw their ideas as “a genuine contribution to their field and to an area we see as critical to laying that scientific foundation for innovation in the future experience of the Web,” according to a spokesman. The competition, now in its second year, encourages top graduate students to collaborate with Yahoo! and help invent the future of the Internet.

Singh and Wick join winners from 15 other world-class universities including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Harvard, the University of Michigan, MIT and Stanford, who submitted proposals on a variety of scientific issues, from the effects of online advertising and defining new sociological models for how people engage with the Web, to mining personally relevant information from the mountains of data available on the Web.

Winners will receive $5,000 each in unrestricted seed funding for their research and will also have an opportunity over the next several months to work closely with some of the world’s best known and most experienced Internet scientists at Yahoo! Labs to advance their research. In September, all 23 winners will convene at Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. for a summit, where they will present and defend their findings to their peers and to Yahoo! Labs’ leadership in structured workshops.

Prabhakar Raghavan, Yahoo! chief scientist and senior vice president and head of Yahoo! Labs, said, “As an industry we’re developing the scientific models and disciplines we need to more fully understand and drive the Web’s evolution and impact. This year’s Key Scientific Challenge winners all represent innovative, critical research into the new sciences that will shape the next 20 years of Internet innovation.” Yahoo! Is one of the most trafficked Internet destinations with hundreds of millions of users every month. It seeks to deliver personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences.

Ron Brachman: vice president of Yahoo! Labs, added, “It was extremely gratifying this year to see the strength and diversity of our applications. It is clear that the Internet is increasingly central to progress in an amazing number of fields, and the quality of students we’ve met through the Key Scientific Challenges program is remarkable. We’ve heard from outstanding students from a wide array of schools around the world, and the breadth and quality of their ideas is most impressive.”