Feeds

NCSA edges away from Google-Yahoo! study

Garbage in, garbage out

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A widely discredited report that cast doubt on claims made for Yahoo!'s search engine is in even more trouble. The study appears to have been disowned by the university that published it, although a history professor originally credited as a co-author is continuing to host the material.

After Yahoo! boasted that it now used a much larger search index than Google, two students at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois conducted a study that suggested otherwise. Matthew Cheney and Mike Perry concluded that only in 3 per cent of test cases did Yahoo! return more results.

However the students' methodology came under attack almost immediately. Researchers including Seth Finkelstein and Jean Veronais drew some quite different conclusions. The NCSA researchers had used pairs of words at random picked from a word list, which skewed the results towards web pages consisting of word lists. In other words, Google was simply returning more junk than Yahoo!

(See My spam-filled search index is bigger than yours!).

Now the biohazard signs are being erected around the report, and the students have issued a qualification. Gone from the original are the University's logo, and the name of a Professor listed as a co-author alongside Cheney and Perry has disappeared.

Added is a disclaimer:

"The study was done outside the scope of any NCSA core projects. When first published online, staff at the NCSA noted several issues with the study, and some revisions have been made to the document to reflect several of these concerns."

Incredibly, the students insist they were right first time round, and have only removed one of silliest conclusions. They're re-running the data and say they expect to reach the same results they got the first time round.

Whatever.

The Professor of History and Sociology at the NCSA who hosted the original, Vernon Burton, continues to host the study, alongside an ever-lengthening list of qualifications.®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.