Over the past few months, the Project Aura team has been building a web-scale recommender. As an example of what one can do with Project Aura, we've implemented a blog recommender called Aardvark that uses Project Aura. Aardvark crawls the webs looking for blogs and recommends stories to you based upon your interests. We've found that blog recommender is an excellent example for recommendation - there's lots of things to recommend (we crawl millions of new stories in a week), there's high churn on the content (a post that is 5 days old is ancient history) and people seem to be genuinely frustrated with blog reading - either there are too many posts to slog through in a day, or it is hard to find where to start reading about a particular topic.

To demonstrate some of the under-the-hood technologies of the recommender (document similarity, classification and autotagging), and to add a bit of sizzle to what can be a bit of a boring demo ("now let me show you 10 blog posts that you might (yawn) find interesting"), we've built a dashboard for Aardvark. The dashboard is a 3D app that shows the status of the live running system. Blog headlines scroll through the space as they are crawled from the web.


Clicking on any headline brings up the story. We can look at the manual tags and autotags for the story, find similar stories, get recommendations and explore the topic space of the blogosphere through this interface. Of course, this isn't the type of interface that anyone would use to read blogs on a daily basis, but it is a great way to show off what is going on behind the scenes in the recommender.


If you are interested in learning more about Project Aura, and Aardvark, and if you'd like to see the dashboard in action, be sure to come to our session at JavaOne. The session is TS-5841: Project Aura: Recommendation for the Rest of Us (Next Generation Web / Cool Stuff), and is at 12:10 PM on Tuesday, May 6.



Were you demoing this today? I happened to walk by Faber College at about 11:15 or so and caught a glimpse of something that I thought looked intriguing, and I think it looked something like this.

Posted by Brian Utterback on April 22, 2008 at 03:56 PM EDT #

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