Yahoo Bags Top Honor for Data Mining

Yahoo Inc. on Friday announced that Dr. Raghu Ramakrishnan, Yahoo! vice president, research fellow and chief scientist for the Audience Technology and Cloud Computing & Data Infrastructure (CCDI) groups, has been awarded the 2008 Innovation Award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD). ACM’s SIGKDD Innovation Award is the highest technical award in the fields of data mining and knowledge discovery.

“ACM SIGKDD is pleased to present Dr. Raghu Ramakrishnan with its 2008 Innovation Award for his important contributions to the advancement of the data mining and knowledge discovery,” said Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, chair of ACM SIGKDD. “Dr. Ramakrishnan’s visionary research on techniques for scaling data mining algorithms to large datasets, and on mining ordered and streaming data has significantly influenced ongoing developments in the industry.”

The award is given to one individual or one group of collaborators who has made significant technical innovations in the field of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery that have been transferred to practice in significant ways, or that have significantly influenced direction of research and development in the field. The previous ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award winners include Rakesh Agrawal (IBM), Jerome Friedman (Stanford University), Heikki Mannila (Helsinki University of Technology), Jiawei Han (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Leo Breiman (University of California, Berkeley), Ramakrishnan Srikant (Google), and former Yahoo! Chief Data Officer Usama Fayyad (2007).

Ramakrishnan’s contributions span foundational technical innovation and algorithmic and systems aspects of data mining. His work on scalable data mining algorithms started with BIRCH, the first truly scalable clustering algorithm, and his resulting paper is one of the highest-cited data mining resources in the last decade. Ramakrishnan later extended this work into a clustering framework for arbitrary metric spaces.

At Yahoo, Ramakrishnan is responsible for helping to create a comprehensive, high-performance and globally scalable computing and storage infrastructure. In his CCDI role, he spearheads the scientific innovation required to develop Yahoo!’s cloud initiatives, leveraging expertise in data serving, grid computing, storage, and virtualization technology. In addition, Ramakrishnan heads the Community Systems group in Yahoo! Research, and is chief scientist for the Audience Technologies group, where he has led the research on content optimization, i.e., the task of algorithmically selecting the right content to display on a page when a user visits a web portal.

“I am honored to be recognized with this prestigious award. My work has been carried out in close collaboration with many students and colleagues over the years, and in accepting this award, I represent all of them,” said Ramakrishnan. “At Yahoo!, advancements in content optimization are already having significant impact in practice and our research in cloud computing will result in the development of a family of data hosting and analysis services that will make it much easier to conduct data mining on the massive datasets seen at a web-scale.”

The 2008 Innovation Award will be presented at KDD-2008 Opening Plenary Session on August 24, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV.

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