ARISE Technology Demonstrated at I2R TechFest'11
ARISE researchers recently demonstrated their data mining technology to the public at the Institute for Infocomm Research's (I2R) TechFest'11.
ARISE, which stands for Augmented Reality Information Search Engine, is a project led by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign computer science professor Kevin Chang. The research takes place at Illinois' Advanced Digital Sciences Center (ADSC) in Singapore and is funded by Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
The ARISE project aims to bridge the gap between the virtual Internet world and the real world by creating a search tool that will enhance real world experiences with information found on the Web. For example, if a student is curious to see if the new Indian restaurant in town serves his favorite Tandoori Chicken dish, the technology will scour the Web for mentions of the restaurant from Web pages, blogs or reviews. The information is then extracted and organized into a concise and readable format. The student could then check the price of the dish, read reviews about the restaurant or possibly find the recipe the restaurant uses for their Tandoori Chicken.
I2R's TechFest, which was held in August, is an annual event to showcase the latest innovations at I2R. I2R Research Scientist Hady Lauw staffed the two-day exhibition along with ADSC researchers Ardian Poernomo, Byung-Won On, and Phuong Nguyen. Ryan Rho, an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Illinois, also contributed in developing the exhibit. A short demonstration of the technology was given to any visitor who stopped by the ARISE booth.
"We aim to have ARISE eventually transition from the lab to the real world," Chang said. "Being at TechFest was an opportunity to speak about our vision for the research and to get a sense if it would be well-received by others."
While the technology is still in development, the booth included a live demonstration on an iPad, featuring an application for a local restaurant search, to help bring a sense of realism to the technology. Embedded in the application was the ARISE technology for summarizing information about real-life entities from the Web.
"What we were showing was a prototype for restaurant search, to showcase our vision for the research," Chang said. "We're still working on the key research challenges, to increase the information quality, as well as to generalize it to other types of entities such as people. We're probably still at least a year or two out from taking some part of the research to the real world."
ARISE's key technologies include finding the information about entities on the Web, integrating the information in a single place and extracting aspects from unstructured text information. The key difference between a typical search engine and ARISE is that ARISE is organized by entities, rather than pages. For example, Google users type in a query and get a list of Web pages. According to Lauw, these are tedious to search through and glean information from. With ARISE, users are shown entities based on their geo-location and information is extracted from the Web about that entity, such as a restaurant, school, business, or person. The information is then organized into a single place, such as an iPad application, and users can find the information on a single page, rather than browsing through multiple Web pages.
"At the app level, probably the experience is similar to existing apps," Lauw said. "The really hard stuff is at the backend, going out to the Web to find relevant information, integrating and putting them in a unified form and structuring and organizing the information."
While ARISE may sound like just another iPad application, according to Lauw, it is different in that ARISE looks for more information than just the name, hours, phone number, and prices of a certain entity.
"We realize that there's a lot more information on the Web about entities, beyond just phone numbers and the like," he said. "Especially, there is so much content embedded inside reviews. For example, what people say about different aspects, such as ambience, food, dessert, service, price. One of our key objectives is to extract these aspects from reviews, so as to present a summary of the reviews to the users."
The first time ARISE was presented to the public was at the Singapore Science Festival in July, which focused on science education, and many attendees were students and families with school children. The TechFest drew in industry leaders and professionals, as well as visitors from local educational institutions, which opened up a wider audience for ARISE.
Chang said TechFest gave the ARISE technology increased exposure and visibility and they gleaned positive feedback from the public about their vision. The process also challenged the ARISE team to pull all their information and technology together into a coherent whole that was presentable to the public.
"We saw this as an occasion to showcase our technology, to gain some feedback and to get a sense of whether it would be well-received by the public at large," Lauw said. "It was also a good chance to seek out potential industrial interests."
For more information about ARISE, visit http://arise.adsc.com.sg.
The Advanced Digital Sciences Center is a Singapore-based research center for faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ADSC focuses on breakthrough innovations information technology.