Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Introducing Google Instant

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.
The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want. In time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way.


Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.
Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way

Saturday, January 1, 2011

NodeXL: Network Overview, Discovery and Exploration in Excel

NodeXL is a powerful and easy-to-use interactive network visualisation and analysis tool that leverages the widely available MS Excel application as the platform for representing generic graph data, performing advanced network analysis and visual exploration of networks. The tool supports multiple social network data providers that import graph data (nodes and edge lists) into the Excel spreadsheet.

The tool includes an Excel template for easy manipulation of graph data:

Sample networks generated with NodeXL:

Project contributers:

The NodeXL Template in Action

This is what the NodeXL template looks like. In this example, a simple two-column edge list was entered into the Edges worksheet, and the Show Graph button was clicked to display the network graph in the graph pane on the right.


The two-column edge list is all that’s required, but you can extensively customize the graph’s appearance by filling in a variety of optional edge and vertex columns. Here is the same graph after color, shape, size, image, opacity, and other columns were filled in.


In the next example, NodeXL has imported and displayed a graph of connections among people who follow, reply or mention one another in Twitter:


Some NodeXL Features


NodeXL Graph Gallery

Here are some graphs that were created with NodeXL. Additional images can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/marc_smith/sets/72157622437066929/.

John CrowleyCody Dunne

Marc SmithPierre de Vries

Eduarda Mendes RodriguesTony Capone

Tony CaponeEduarda Mendes Rodrigues

Project Trident: A Scientific Workflow Workbench

Project Trident imagery
With Project Trident, you can author workflows visually by using a catalog of existing activities and complete workflows. The workflow workbench provides a tiered library that hides the complexity of different workflow activities and services for ease of use.

Version 1.2 Now Available

Project Trident is available under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

About Project Trident

Built on the Windows Workflow Foundation, this scientific workflow workbench allows users to:

  • Automate analysis and then visualize and explore data
  • Compose, run, and catalog experiments as workflows
  • Capture provenance for each experiment
  • Create a domain-specific workflow library to extend the functionality of the workflow workbench
  • Use existing services, such as provenance and fault tolerance, or add new services
  • Schedule workflows over HPC clusters or cloud computing resources

Current Status: Microsoft Research is working in partnership with oceanographers involved in the NEPTUNE project at the University of Washington and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to use Project Trident as a scientific workflow workbench. A workflow workbench prototype has been developed for evaluation and is in active use, while an open source version is being implemented for public release.

Learn More

Project Trident in Action—Videos

Papers, Presentations, and Articles

Partner Highlight

  • myExperimentmyExperiment team
    University of Manchester and Southampton University. myExperiment makes it easy to find, use and share scientific workflows and other files, and to build communities. Project Trident uses myExperiment as the community site for sharing workflows, along with provenance traces.

Background: Project Trident

Project Trident: A Scientific Workflow Workbench began as a collaborative scientific and engineering partnership among the University of Washington, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Microsoft External Research that is intended to provide Project Neptune with a scientific-workflow workbench for oceanography. Later, Project Trident was deployed at Johns Hopkins University for use in the Pan-STARRS astronomy project.

An increasing number of tools and databases in the sciences are available as Web services. As a result, researchers face not only a data deluge, but also a service deluge, and need a tool to organize, curate, and search for services of value to their research. Project Trident provides a registry that enables the scientist to include services from his or her particular domain. The registry enables a researcher to search on tags, keywords, and annotations to determine which services and workflows­—and even which data sets—are available. Other features of the registry include:

  • Semantic tagging to enable a researcher to find a service based on what it does, or is meant to do, and what it consumes as inputs and produces as outputs
  • Annotations that allow a researcher to understand how to operate the registry and configure it correctly; the registry records when and by whom a service was created, records its version history, and tracks its version

The Project Trident registry service includes a harvester that automatically extracts Web Services Descriptive Language (WSDL) for a service, to allow scientists to use any service as it was presented. Users simply provide the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) of the service, and the harvester extracts the WSDL and creates an entry in the registry for the service. Curation tools are available to review and semantically describe the service before moving it to the public area of the registry.

Because the end users for Project Trident are scientists rather than seasoned programmers, the workflow workbench also offers a graphical interface that enables the user to visually compose, launch, monitor, and administer workflows.

Project Trident: Logical Architecture

Tridente Logical Architecture