April 15, 2005

categories: narcissism
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Yahoo R&D Chief Joins MSN Search


In a major hiring coup, the MSN Search blog announced that Yahoo's head of Research and Development, Dr.Gary William Flake has now joined MSN. According to Oshoma Momoh, General Manager, MSN Search, Dr.Flake will be 'responsible for bridging the innovation happening between Microsoft Research and MSN and for setting the technology vision and future direction of the MSN portal, web search, desktop search and monetization engine.' Dr.Flake is also the first person to be directly hired as a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, an elite group that has Dave Cutler and Anders Hejlsberg among other luminaries.

When this news broke, I jumped into the discussion at Slashdot; here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Quixote: Yoda sez... Begin, the search engine wars has.

deutschemonte: Hmm... fallen to the dark side, young Flake has.

me: ROFL. Thanks, you made my week. I've always wanted to be the Darth Vader of the Internets, if just for a day.

The next exchange captures a little bit of the surrealism I felt when I discovered the current Slashdot story was about me:

Mr_Silver: I'm not really sure how this is news, people move from one organisation to a rival all the time (even the very senior people). I can only assume that it is on here because it has Microsoft in the title and gives the editors a chance to whip out the (frankly stupid) borg icon.

me: And here I thought that this morning's edition of slashdot had been personalized just for me!

Winning the Outstanding Accomplishments in Trolling Award:

Anonymous Coward: On what moral ground can one justify joining MS, knowing as we all know what a despicable, criminal company it is? Dr. Flake, you are a whore.

me: Me love you long time.

And finally, an extremely generous comment from WEFUNK:

Indeed. It's too bad that most of the comments have been cracks about his name or his new title.

Gary Flake's The Computational Beauty of Nature is a classic book that anyone interested or active in engineering or computer science should own and cherish. Not only is it the best introduction and overview to explore and link together a number of popular but often confused concepts, from Fractals and Chaos to Number Theory and Computer Science, it is a beautifully written and presented book itself - perhaps best compared in both subject matter and style to other classics like Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, or perhaps A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram - except that it is shorter and much more accessible for even the layperson to read.

I had no idea what he has been up to lately. That he had left NEC to join Overture and become head scientist for Yahoo! Labs and eventually over to MSN Search certainly seems to fit the billing of "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters." better than most stories I read here. My thanks to the submitter and editor for posting this.

April 11, 2005

categories: press, narcissism
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Microsoft plucks search exec from Yahoo

Microsoft on Monday said it has hired away Gary Flake, a principal scientist at Yahoo Research Lab and former head of research at the Web portal's Overture Services division. Flake will set the "technology vision and future direction" for Microsoft's MSN portal, its Web search engine, its desktop search software and its paid search business, according to Microsoft spokeswoman Kathy Gill. CNET / NEWS.COM

And so began the next step in my professional life...

April 1, 2005

categories: press, projects
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The Tech Buzz Game

buzz logo

Technology soothsayers can put their predictions to the test as part of a research project merging search-query data with a virtual, online marketplace.eWeek

The Tech Buzz Game is a fantasy prediction market for high-tech products, concepts, and trends. It is a joint research project between Yahoo! Research Labs and O'Reilly Research.

As a player, your goal is to predict how popular various technologies will be in the future. Popularity or buzz is measured by Yahoo! Search frequency over time.

Predictions are made by buying virtual stock in the products or technologies you believe will succeed, and selling stock in the technologies you think will flop. In other words, you "put your play money where your mouth is."

This was just about the last project that I worked on before leaving Yahoo.