Facets and Similarity - Exploring the Meta-Informational Hyperspace

Ted Sullivan • Back to Haystack 2018

This talk will feature some of my recent research into the alternative uses for Solr facets and facet metadata. I will develop the idea that facets can be used to discover similarities between items and attributes in a search index, and show some interesting applications of this idea. A common takeaway is that using facets and facet metadata in non-conventional ways enables the semantic context of a query to be automatically tuned. This has important implications for user-centric and semantically focused relevance.

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Ted Sullivan

For the past 18 or so years now I have been building search applications, first with Verity K2 for a project with a publishing company H.W. Wilson, then with most of the vendor products in the search space, Ultraseek, Fast, Autonomy, Endeca, Vivissimo, MarkLogic and Exalead. I watched Lucene grow and develop from an interesting little search engine to a major force in the search technology business. Before that, I was building collaborative battlefield planning applications for the U.S. Army and before that I was working on Internet stuff back in the dawn of the Web (well almost - 1994). I have been programming in Java since 1995 and professionally since 1996 or so. I was learning JavaScript when Netscape was still developing it. I am fascinated by the growth of technology that I have witnessed as it continues to extend the reach of what is possible and practical. Search is a deeply interesting problem that continues to evolve to touch on the vision of the early pioneers in computing.

Before my work in the web with my friend Jim Spatz at Spatz Computer Graphics, I published some Math games for kids on the original Mac OS, and before that, I did science - Auditory Neuroscience to be more precise. I studied the auditory system of 'fly-by-night' critters, bats and owls first at Washington University in St Louis, then at Caltech and Princeton.

For the past 4 years, I have been a Senior Solutions Architect at Lucidworks where I have been able to continue the ever fascinating quest for the killer search application.