Sunday, February 4, 2007

Brain cycle stealing (to find Jim Gray's missing boat)...

At the beginning of the semester, I mentioned that one of the important directions on web is to try and steal the brain cycles of the vast web population. One application was "image labelling"-- and I mentioned the Mechanical Turk effort by Amazon and and ESP game and the related efforts (which have since become part of Google image labelling service).

You may have heard that Jim Gray, the noted compute scientist has been missing since last weekend (with his yacht). After coast guard gave up searching for him, the various technorati have stepped in. Google made the most recent satellite imagery of the area available and Amazon then took it and put it into its mechanical turk site--to allow people to look for possible missing boats in the mass of cloud cover and ocean waves.

Here is the site:


ps: Jim Gray is the head of the Microsoft research, Bay area facility (which essentially was opened just so that Jim Gray can be with Microsoft and be in Bay area). Can you guess as to why Amazon engineers are so interested in helping him? (granted he is a great computer scientist--but what
is the connection between his contributions and Amazon?)


Aravind Krishna K said...

Jim Gray's research in transaction processing paved the way for ATM machines, computerized airline reservations and e-commerce applications, thus helping to transform databases into dynamic tools used by millions.. may be because transaction processing is the core technology behind Amazon's amazing business success, they owe him a lot & are onto this task !!

Sophya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sophya said...

Jim Gray is known as the leader in the field of database systems and transaction processing. Gray has made a big impact on Amazon's success and importantly, Gray was on Amazon's CTO, Werner Vogel, PhD committee at Vrije University. Gray was Vogel's mentor and they were friends. In addition, Gray has also worked on many research projects with people that are currently working at Amazon, Google, Microsoft and NASA.