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Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 18:11

Web search tool grabs top prize in HKUST contest

By Li Xiange

HONG KONG - A web search tool designed to increase efficiency when surfing the internet has grabbed top prize in a contest of undergraduate research programs at the city’s best tech school – Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

Faster and more accurate web research results might be yielded via the new tool, co-designed by sophomore in computer sciences Sepanta Zeighami and his project supervisor, Raymond Wong Chi-wing, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST.

The program selects only a handful of returns considered most likely to satisfy what the user is looking for – for example, choosing a hotel, a car dealership, or even a representative list of NBA players.

A typical web search yields thousands of results. The search is too broad, accounts for too many factors and the user is unsatisfied.

The system narrows the search criteria to just a few points that have been shown by big data to be most likely to satisfy users’ needs.

Professor Wong said the new system has great potential, and is expected to attract attention when it is showcased at an international conference in the United States in September.

The project won out over 291 projects in the contest, which was established in 2005 and has attracted over 2,500 participants since then.

Winning the award is expected to smooth Sepanta’s way to applying for a PhD degree in the future.

Another senior student, Gromit Chan Yeuk-yin, took second place with his research on using narrative visualization to explain social and economic relationships in financial news. Chan, who will soon further his studies at New York University as a PhD student, said his research landed him several offers from leading universities.

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