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Microsoft Finds A Data Mining Gem

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-15

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IBM's Rakesh Agrawal has departed the Almaden Institute in favor of the cozy confines of the Microsoft Search Labs.

Microsoft may not be everyone's favorite company today, but there is no lack of attraction for working with the Redmond technology giant. Not long after drawing Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz to take over MSN, Microsoft has scored another recruiting win.

Agrawal's departure for Microsoft, as noted in CNet, took place earlier in 2006. He brings his new employer extensive experience in data mining, the technique for divining particular information out of large subsets of data.

At IBM, an info page on Agrawal described his leadership there of the Quest project at Almaden. From that project, IBM developed Intelligent Miner, a commercial data mining product. Agrawal has also earned 45 patents.

The article also described Agrawal's current work with randomization, a technique for making personal data private, yet accessible for analysis by a business:

In this technique, data is scrambled before it gets entered into a database. Nonetheless, mathematicians, by applying probabilistic computing techniques to the scrambled data, can come up with patterns that are similar to what the actual data would have shown.

Thus, a corporation can get a handle on its 18- to 24-year-old buyers while privacy is ensured; the original data is never entered in the database.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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