Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Unidentified Needle

Interesting article posted on /. describing a new technique developed at Case Western University for locating the needle in a haystack of data.

It appears that this technique relies on prior knowledge of the needle (in this case a particular signal of interest in the data) for which you are searching. While exciting in its own right, this breakthrough generates a natural and even more challenging problem: How do you sift through a haystack of data when you have no idea if what you're looking for is a needle or for something else entirely?
When it comes to searching through piles of information, search engines and other digital resources often prove very effective...provided that you know what you're looking for. The challenge now is to learn how to uncover the right piece of information when the user doesn't know exactly what it is they are looking for.

Too much science fiction in that idea? Perhaps. Probably not though. Does Googlzon in 2014 really seem so far-fetched? Either way, the ability to locate the 'needle' in the haystack, despite not knowing anything about the particular needle or haystack, is something that I'm confident some very clever people are hard at work on.


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