Tuesday, July 15

AutoDesk Seek: Engineering CAD Search

Going back over the Hadoop summit, I ran across a presentation by Mike Haley, Search Architect at AutoDesk. The presentation Online Search for Engineering Design Content [video, slides] looks highly relevant to search for engineering and technical professionals

Mike's team developed Autodesk Seek, from his LinkedIn profile:
We developed a completely open system that includes:
- A custom parametric search engine (based on Lucene)
- Large scale distributed processing of design content (using Hadoop and Amazon Web Services)
- Machine Learning
- A vertical ontology system for assisting in specification and finding of design data
- Driving standards for design content and metadata

From their description :
Autodesk® Seek is a robust new web service that gives architects and engineers the ability to search, select, and specify generic or manufacturer-specific building products and associated design content, including 3D models, 2D drawings, specifications, and descriptions, from within their Autodesk software package or a standard Internet browser.
It launched back in May, but once again I missed it somehow. You can also read the production description on AutoDesk's site.

I can't speak for the quality of the results since I'm not a design engineer. One question I have is content: is there a significant amount of quality content available? In other words, does Autodesk Seek have the parts and components that you want to find? I don't know the answer to that, but I know that CAD search is a hard problem.

I touched on CAD search as one of the areas of research that are interesting back at my ECIR Industry Day talk, at the beginning of April. If you're interested, my slides are online.

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