Monday, October 6

Yahoo! BOSS-U Workshop

Recently, Yahoo! invited a group of academics from a handful of universities to talk about Yahoo! BOSS, including particpants from the CIIR here at UMass. Yahoo! has a writeup, BOSS Goes to College. I think that's my advisor, James Allan, standing towards the back in first picture. As Yahoo! writes:
The workshop consisted of a series of all-day sessions in which academics from MIT, Stanford, UIUC, UMass, and Purdue, and experts from the Yahoo! Search Team and Yahoo! Research brainstormed and discussed ways to incorporate BOSS-U into academic research and teaching programs.
Getting more academic involvement in what has been traditionally a very closed industrial environment is very encouraging. One of the goals is to provide academic researchers to web-scale data. To start the process, Yahoo! is being quite generous with access to their API for academic researchers. It will be interesting to see what research and ideas emerge from the collaboration.


  1. I agree that the BOSS initiative is laudable. Furthermore, Yahoo's generosity could pay enormous dividends if Yahoo becomes a platform for web search innovation.

    But am I right to understand that they impose a limit of 50 results per query and an inability to customize ranking other than re-ranking those 50 results? I realize there's a lot you can do within that limit, but for me that is a bucket of cold water on set-oriented retrieval approaches.

  2. The version accessible to academic researchers has significantly fewer restrictions than those imposed by the publicly available API.

  3. Anyone knows if they are opening this to researchers worldwide or just hand-picked academics? This could be a game changer for WebIR research. Congratulations to Yahoo!