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Search for Next-Gen Search Begins!!

Multimedia content on the web is at an all time high. Oh yeah, all those videos of your holiday in Thailand , pictures of your baby nephew and those oodles of mp3 songs that you've collected over the last decade are scattered all across the world wide web and with so much data strewn from servers lying in countries you’ve barely heard of, searching through all this data has become one of the biggest challenges amongst net professionals. Now, with the aim to develop next-gen multimedia search technologies Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research, also called A*STAR has inaugurated its Star Challenge competition. As of now, a total of 56 teams from as many as 17 countries including India have entered the race to develop the next big search technology.


The contest, called the 'Star Challenge@Fusionopolis', whose first round begins on June 15, requires competing participants to create innovative search engines that can search through terms found not only in text but also music and video. With multimedia search, a person who is interested in a particular topic but doesn't have the time to watch a lot of video or listen to audio could simply search for the parts that interest him or her (the same way we search text today instead of reading an entire document) . So basically, unlike traditional text-based search engines, these new search engines should have the capabilities to search within MP3’s , AVI’s, FLV’s, WAV’s, and other such multimedia formats. The search engine should work across all platforms, especially user-generated content websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. If you still didn't understand what this contest is about you can see this page that explains it all. Some participants are also engaged in developing search through torrent sites as added attractions.

The 56 teams taking up the challenge include

  • India's Indian Institute of Technology (IIT),
  • China's Tsinghua, and Peking Universities,
  • France's Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble,
  • Japan's National Institute of Informatics, and the
  • United States' University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC).
Besides, many search engine enthusiasts have also teamed up to form teams for this competition.

Real-world data from Television documentaries, commercials, and news bulletins will be used in the competition. The finals will take place on Oct 23 this year. The winning team will be richer by $10,000. Well, that of course depends on how much they spend on the development of the search engine. Hopefully, contests like this will provide aspiring web-guru's to showcase their talent and enable better, more comprehensive searches in the near future.

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