Roumen Vragov, an assistant professor of statistics and computer information systems in Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business is part of a winning team in Microsoft Research and adCenter’s $1 million Beyond Search Request for Proposal competition.
Vragov, along with teammates Vernon Smith of George Mason University and David Porter of Chapman University, will receive a grant worth $51,000 to research how search engines decide to display sponsored advertiser links. Their proposal was among 20 selected out of 150 submissions.
“We were very excited to be chosen,” said Vragov. “I am happy to have this chance to work with Professor Porter, who specializes in combinatorial auctions and Professor Smith, who is considered the father of experimental economics.”
Their winning proposal uses an algorithm to choose which advertiser links will be displayed in a specific order on internet search results pages. Typically the links are selected by some combination of the price the advertiser pays for their sponsored link to appear, and the relevance of the link to search results.
Beyond Search creates opportunities for information sharing and discovery by encouraging cross-disciplinary research with real-world data at its core. The competition consists of two tracks, semantic computing, the process of making the web more meaningful, and internet economics, which looks at understanding the commercial needs of users. In addition to research funding, Microsoft Research and adCenter provide winners with real-world search and ad data sets and access to software technology.
“Baruch College’s application showcases innovative research in the semantic computing space while also addressing the human computer interaction aspects of semantic search,” said Evelyne Viegas, Senior Program Manager of Microsoft External Research.
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