Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Lab, a Co, and a Country

Smriti Bhagat, a Rutgers MassDAL PhD, posted a Facebook research blog on Diversity in India, to coincide with the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Silicon Valley. Diversity in India, a social nation, is a much-mentioned topic, but now made sharper via this pandectic data analysis. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Call Sign

My call sign zip  is 10013, again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

DIMACS Workshop: Big Data, Sublinear.

See you at the workshop in a week. Urging students to attend, submit posters (deadline Aug 20). DIMACS workshop on Sublinear Approach to Big Data Problems


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Teacher Center A La Sports Center: Hilarious

Key and Peele, talented comedians with tight skits, have done many special pieces, but this is ultra special. A spoof on Sports Central, draft coverage, this one is on Teachers Draft (for High Schools):

Saturday, July 25, 2015

NYT on Terry Tao

Well written article. We need a 21st century media to make a movie out of this story. 


Friday, July 24, 2015

Streaming and MapReduce algorithms: Researchers Wanted!

I would love to have a postdoc, senior graduate student or a faculty who is willing to spend 6 months to 1 year at DIMACS/Rutgers, anytime starting Sept '15, working on streaming algorithms, mapreduce/hadoop algorithms, Big Data, all the good theory stuff. Pl. contact me


Alberto Apostolico

Alberto, a veteran researcher in algorithms and in particular, string algorithms, passed away recently. My sincere condolences. Alberto was a hub, bringing in many to research in string matching.

Alberto was also a consummate raconteur. If you have stories, please contact Ami.

Srinivas Aluru informs us: Through a private gift, Georgia Tech is establishing a lecture series in Alberto's memory.


Big Data, Sublinear Algorithms, MapReduce Algorithms Workshop

Grigory Yaroslavtsev, Alexandr Andoni and I  are organizing the DIMACS workshop on Big Data through the Lens of Sublinear Algorithms, Aug 27--28, at Rutgers. There is a great set of talks, tutorials and a heap of intellect in attendance. Pl. join us if you are interested. Check out the fantastic workshop page!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A New Direction in the World of Ads

Ad business in its looong history has seen very few transformative moments. Ads business has mostly consisted of the publisher-advertiser team showing things to the users they want to monolog with. Sponsored search was a true transformation: ads were shown based on what users asked--searched for, and it charged for users interacting with the ad, not for been shown one. Perhaps ad exchange was transformative, letting advertisers talk to specific users across contexts.

I am excited now to see some truly new steps in advertising, with miip.  Miip has following components:
  • miip is an InMobi branded ad gadget, 
  • it is customized to the user across sites, apps and aware of the history,
  • it shows curated, beautiful commercial content in a native way,
  • it handles transactions and payments, 
  • it lets users interact with the ad in a social way. 
What is new? 
  • An network that shows ads branding it, is new in ads business, as revolutionary as an Intel Inside sticker on your laptop. 
  • Ads which are primarily user centric gadgets that maintain user state across ad experiences is new. While some of the ``user signals'' are used in ads relevance and targeting, truly individualized ad experience over a prolonged period of time is a real innovation. 
  • Content in mobile is all about beautiful composition (instagram, houzz, pinterest, ..), and making ads beautifully composed is a natural evolution.
  • Handling transaction and payment is more than slapping a BuyItNow button on ads, it is making ads a buying experience. Again, here, content is going through this transformation (eg., video) and about time to make ads go through that experience too.
  • Letting users interact with ads is an ongoing exercise. In the old days, companies uploaded their TV ads to YouTube and let users comment; Or, Hulu used to let viewers tweet the video ads they see, etc. These responses were sparse and not very useful. With Instagram and Facebook, the response of users to ads is more natural, and miip makes it a first class object in the system, trying to make ads a dialog. 
What does it mean to do something transformative? It is a risk, and some of the above aspects may not stick, some maybe truly ahead of its time, etc. But I am glad someone  is instigating and taking the bold step, and even if some of it sticks, advertising business would have been moved to a new place.

ps: Naveen Tiwari, the CEO of InMobi, has a twinkle in his eyes, a big smile on his face, and I am glad to see that instead of declaring victory with doing an India-based B dollar company, he has inspired his people to arch their bows and shoot for something much bigger.