Month: August 2009

A new requirement for Google search engine..

Recently conducted an experiment, a contextual search in google to search for a content, which are not widely searched for,  but very powerful concept used widely in various application like in google algorithms, credit risk management, economics, bio-physics and etc. I took  “stochastic calculus” as the subject.  It is one of a probability subject used to study the time evolution of a stochastic process/system. With in stochastic calculus, I was taking the specific key word “Kolmogorov forward equation“.  In nut shell, the equation provides the forward time evolution of system given the system is in a state at a given time.

Why this key word was taken?

As you may know, I work for a Financial company and credit risk management is the core competency of any financial company. Even though I’m in IT department, being IT strategy Manager/Chief Architect, understanding how credit risk management works is  not required to do my job. However, I believe, to be successful practical Chief Architect, Chief Architect must know what are the core competencies required to run the business and having a basic understanding of those core competencies are definitely a huge plus. So I started my search experiment with Kolmogorov forward equation specific for actuarial analysis, investment stability analysis (for bonds, investment banks etc) for captive finance company or a consumer bank.

Experiment:

Objective:

Search at least A site with simple, understandable explanation of the equation, various components of the equation and how the equation can be used for actuarial analysis (for auto insurance, wholesale insurance) with a simple real time example.

Steps taken:

Used the cheat sheet I created and narrowed down the search to file type (ie. pdf, ppt, xls and etc) site:.edu, .com and etc. When you look for a basic information, I think, searching only for power point is a wise approach. When someone creates a content in power point, it means it is being explained in an executive level or in high level or in a simpler form. The tip is, when you are looking for a introduction information first search for filetype:ppt.

Even then, as google always provides, I got numerous results back. To minimize the results and receive the most apt content for my search, I did exact keywords where ever necessary. Like “Kolmogorov forward equation”, as one word, filetype:ppt, site:.edu and etc.. (There were various permutation and combination I tried)

Observed Results:

In spite of numerous permutation and combination I was unable to receive the search results I was expecting. Finally, it occurred to me that there may be content available from Universities located in Europe. When I narrowed down my search to site:.uk, I got the result what I was expecting.

Conclusion:

It is my recommendation to google team that they should introduce a new key word like “univ” with qualifier like “asia”, “europe”,”na”, “usa”, “UK”.  Had google had a key word like univ with the suggested qualifier, I would be able to get the most appropriate results back for my search.

New Requirements:

  • Introduce new key word “univ” and it will search for all universities in entire world
  • Qualifier like “asia”, “na” will narrow down the university content search within Asia, North America and etc
  • Qualifier like “USA”, “IN” will narrow down the university content search within USA, India and etc.

The problem is, not all University sites have .edu domain.

How to use google effectively?

 I created a cheat sheet on tips on how to use google effectively.  Please provide feedback on this cheat sheet.. I’m planning to extend the cheat sheet concept  for IT Strategy, Enterprise Architecture,  Technical interview questions for IT managers, open source, social networking eco systems and etc.

Why do we need a cheat sheet to use google effectively?

There are quite a few documents available in the google help on various operators. Some of the operators like links are not widely used and to avoid the overwhelming information for the users , I created this cheat sheet with frequently used operators.

Google is an effective search engine today and Bing from Microsoft has recently been launched and before Bing’s launch, I had been waiting to study Bing search performance.  On the day it was launched, I was playing around with Bing and searching for the key words like  “Air France”. During the Bing launch week, there was an air tragic when Air France flight from Brazil was missing in the Atlantic. I was searching for “Air France” in the Bing and Google at the same time and you can see the bing search result and google search result.  Even though both the search engine results were trying to sell Air France tickets, Google suggested if I’m looking for Air France Crash.  Contextual search in Google is very powerful and at the same time it provides numerous results back for any popular key words. There are lots of room for improvement to narrow down the results to the users specific query.

To over come it, there is an advanced search option in the google search engine which requires additional input from the users to narrow down the user specific search.  Advanced search option basically translates into what was mentioned in the cheat sheet. The usage of advanced search option may become challenging when you are using it from handheld like blackberry.

The problem we all face today is, google provides too much of information. I call it information over load and it limits the user ability to narrow down the key information the user is seeking for. 

Next generation search engine..

To over come the information over load, WolframAlpha is emerging.  Stephen Wolfram, the CEO & Founder of Wolfram Research is the founder of WolframAlpha.  Any science graduate must have heard the mathematical software Mathematica and Mathematica is from Wolfram Research.  (It is the first mathematical software I know, which solves the problem algebraically. Where as software product like Matlab, Maple, Octave, etc solves the math problem numerically). It is trying to over come the information over load problem when we all users are facing today with google search engine.

WolframAlpha is emerging search engine tries to narrow down to specific search results. Most of the time, it tries to come up with  an exact answer for the search query..

Will it take over Google or will it become a gaint calculator.. Time only can answer this question.. Let us be vigilant,wait and watch it..

Rapid Solution Delivery Framework

In this tough economical situation, leading a multi-million, multi-year project to a failure is not an option for any corporation.  Leaders or managers who lead project for years without successful implementation must be watched closely by the executive management for their performance during this economical situation. I totally understand an organization can learn from their mistakes, but successful organization learns from others mistakes but not on their own cost.

The project managers and leaders are seeking the best possible ways to ensure successful implementation in spite of any unforeseen hindrance in the execution. Even for the multi-million dollar projects utilizing the cost effectively solution are demanded. The project managers and leaders are seeking the best enterprise or system architect to provide solution to exceed customer expectation, meet requirements and at the same time provide most innovative and cost effective solution.  Enterprise architects or system architects are required to have a set of tools in their arsenal to provide a rapid cost effective solution with highest possible success rate.

Rapid Solution Delivery Framework is an abstract concept used to rapidly define a cost effective and innovative solution. The key components of the framework are:

1. Cloud computing
2. Open source
3. Social network tools

Cloud computing: It addresses the rapid infrastructure setup or applicaton setup or business rules for any solution delivery. The cloud platform may come from external public cloud provider like Amazon or internal cloud provider or external private cloud provider (like secure24, rackspace for infrastructure) . It is rapid way of setting up the infrastructure for the solution delivery. There may be cases where cloud platform may also provide business solutions.

Open Source: There are lots of commercial software product companies leveraging the open source or supporting or sponsoring the open source to improve their commercial product quality tremendously. For instance, IBM supports Apache product development and leverages the Apache web server and bundles it as a IBM HTTP Server (I H S). The open source concepts are not pertained to system software. The open source concept proliferated to various segments and even in the chemical bonding structural analysis there are lots of open source tools available where the researchers and students easily learn and collaborate. Open source has become an integral of any IT solution delivery model.  Open source provides wide range of solutions from operating system, system software (webserver, database server, application server), application development frameworks (spring, hibernate, struts), security (OpenSSO, Crowd, OpenLDAP) , application development IDEs (like eclipse, Galileo ) and etc. These open source products not only provide quality solutions but also provide cost effective solutions.

Social network tools: Social networking concepts and its implementation matured over the years and it is extensively being used beyond for personal use. There are major corporations like Cisco, Deloitte, IBM uses the social network tools for better collaboration among the employees to provide effective solutions to their clients. The tools landscape in the social network media is vast and deserves a separate blog. To name a few major categories like Video, Video Aggregation, documents, events, Wiki, LiveCasting, Pictures, social bookmarks, Crowdsourced content, blog and etc. There are at least 3-4 popular tools in each of those categories. The social networking technology landscape plays a vital role in leveraging existing solutions, collaborate better among various stakeholder of the projects.

Vivek Kundra implemented few projects in DC state government as a CTO are few practical examples how social networking platform provides a foundation for a rapid cost effective solution.

Along with these key components, depends on the business requirements, there may be other commerical products like SAP, or Flex (for UI) will be part of the over all IT solution.