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Towards Inventing the New Sciences of the Internet-Search, Marketing, & the Power of Social Networks

About the series

CISE Distinguished Lecture

Friday, August 22nd 2008, Room 1150, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.


Towards Inventing the New Sciences of the Internet -

Search, Marketing, and the Power of Social Networks


Usama M. Fayyad, Ph.D.

Chief Data Officer and

Executive Vice President of Research & Strategic Data Solutions

Yahoo! Inc.




As the Internet continues to change the way we live, find information, communicate, and do business, it has also been taking on a dramatically increasing role in marketing and advertising. The uniqueness of the internet as a measureable interactive medium makes dealing with large volumes of data and its analysis and modeling an essential mission-critical part of running the on-line business. Furthermore, the most basic fundamental concepts underpinning many of the applications that are becoming popular are based on a shallow understanding of what they are and how they can be understood. The larger issues surrounding the Internet as a technology that is ubiquitous in our lives, yet little is understood at the scientific level, is creating a fundamental set of fundamental challenges in defining and understanding many of the basics of the Internet: Community Systems, Search and Information Navigation, Computational Advertising, and the new Microeconomics of the Web. As an example, in scarcely a decade, web search has gone from simply scaling traditional information retrieval, to a plethora of new opportunities that are changing marketing as we know it. In this talk we begin by reviewing this progress, pointing out that web search is no longer a purely computer science problem. We then hint at the role of other disciplines in this ongoing revolution and the challenges ahead of us. I will use some challenges in search and how it is used, as well some recent developments at Yahoo! in terms of how we think Search will evolve. This will lead us into a discussion of the new Yahoo! Research organization and its aims: inventing the new sciences underlying what we do on the Internet, focusing on areas that have received little attention in the traditional academic circles and industrial research labs. Some illustrative examples will be reviewed to make the ultimate goals more concrete. Particular focus will be provided around data-driven capabilities and how data mining plays a unique role in driving many initiatives.


Bio: Usama M. Fayyad

Dr. Usama Fayyad is Yahoo!'s chief data officer and executive vice president of Research & Strategic Data Solutions. Fayyad is responsible for Yahoo!'s global data strategy, architecting Yahoo!'s data policies and systems, prioritizing data investments, and managing the Company's data analytics and data processing infrastructure. Fayyad also oversees the Yahoo! Research organization with offices in Sunnyvale, Burbank and Berkeley, CA, New York, Europe, and S. America. Yahoo! Research is building the premier scientific research organization to develop the new sciences of the Internet, on-line marketing, and innovative interactive applications.


Prior to joining Yahoo!, Fayyad co-founded and led the DMX Group, a data mining and data strategy consulting and technology company that was acquired by Yahoo! in 2004. In early 2000, he co-founded and served as CEO of Revenue Science, Inc.(digiMine, Inc.), a data analysis and data mining company that built, operated and hosted data warehouses and analytics for some of the world's largest enterprises in online publishing, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications and financial services. The company today specializes in Behavioral Targeting and advertising networks. Fayyad's professional experience also includes five years spent leading the data mining and exploration group at Microsoft Research and building the data mining products for Microsoft's server division. From 1989 to 1996 Fayyad held a leadership role at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where his work in the analysis and exploration of scientific databases gathered from observatories, remote-sensing platforms and spacecraft garnered him the top research excellence award that Caltech awards to JPL scientists, as well as a U.S. Government medal from NASA.


Fayyad earned his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1991), and also holds BSE's in both electrical and computer engineering (1984); MSE in computer science and engineering (1986); and M.Sc. in mathematics (1989). He has published over 100 technical articles in the fields of data mining and Artificial Intelligence, is a Fellow of the AAAI and a Fellow of the ACM, has edited two influential books on the data mining and launched and served as editor-in-chief of both the primary scientific journal in the field of data mining and the primary newsletter in the technical community published by the ACM:

SIGKDD Explorations. He also holds adjunct professor positions at universities including Hong Kong and Australia.

*For individual meeting time, please contact Iesha McGhee at x8241.

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