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April 15, 2011

Google Funds Artificial Intelligence Research to Teach Computers Regret

As search engines grow, so does the need for processing large amounts of data in real-time. To address this surge in traffic cost effectively and intelligently, search engine giant Google (News - Alert) is interested in making server computers smarter. To this end, it is funding a ground breaking artificial intelligence (AI) research at the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University. The motive is to see how these advances will drive the company’s AdWords and AdSense revenues.

This program, headed by Prof. Yishay Mansour, began earlier this year at the International Conference on Learning Theory in Haifa, Israel, reports WebProNews.

According to WebProNews, Prof. Mansour and other researchers in the department are working on algorithms that would allow computers to learn from their past failures or mistakes in an effort to make smarter predictions in the future. Mansour refers to it as “minimizing virtual regret”.

Reporting professor’s comments, the news web site wrote “If the servers and routing systems of the Internet could see and evaluate all the relevant variables in advance, they could more efficiently prioritize server resource requests, load documents and route visitors to an Internet site, for instance.”

Explaining the word regret, Mansour said that “Regret” is not really the same as the human emotion that could stem from a bad break-up or overindulging in sweets or fatty foods. It is more akin to noting the gap between a desired outcome and the actual outcome.

Mansour added, “We are able to change and influence the decision-making of computers in real-time. Compared to human beings, help systems can much more quickly process all the available information to estimate the future as events unfold – whether it’s a bidding war on an online auction site, a sudden spike of traffic to a media website, or demand for an online product.”


Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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