Thursday, May 15, 2008

Looking for an intern

I'm looking for resumes for a possible internship this summer with a startup company I work for - Others Online

Min 20 hours per week, possibly 40 hours.

Job Description:
  • Assist with Java servlet, SQL and Ajax UI coding. Data mining and search engine work possible if background allows.
  • Potentially assisting with highly scalable system work using partitioned architecture migrating to Amazon EC2 & S3 system.

Required Skills (4+ out of 6)
  • Java/JSP proficiency
  • SQL knowledge (MySQL)
  • Ajax experience (YUI, Google Web Toolkit, or from scratch javascript)
  • Some Sys Admin skill in Linux
  • Perl, Ruby or Python scripting
  • Familiarity with VMWare, Tomcat/Resin & Apache

Preferred Skills
  • Data Mining, NLP or Search Engine experience/coursework
  • WordNet or other taxonomy experience
    • Text processing, clustering and classification
    • On-line model building
    • Ant System methods
  • Partitioned high-availability system knowledge
    • Design fundamentals of this type of architecture
    • Amazon EC2/S3 experience
  • Firefox browser extensions
If you've taken a data mining or AI course, there is a very real possibility of doing some interesting work this summer with a conference research paper a likely outcome.

If you want to assist with the high-availability partitioned architecture implementation and migration, you'll be learning cutting edge design patterns that I have yet to see in a textbook. The other software engineer (Mike Dierken) worked at Amazon for a few years implementing very scalable systems.

Splitting time between the above two work areas is possible and in fact likely. Either way you'll come out with some real world skills desirable in industry.

We're a startup trying to explode on the scene this summer and the outcome post-summer is unknown. It could turn into a full-time salary job or continued part-time work in the fall.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Subtle Art

I loved this quote from a NYT Blog post:

"By attracting a commanding share of the search advertising activity, Google also has the best data with which to create equations that maximize the money it makes from each search. It turns out that picking which ad to display when is a subtle art that can have a great effect."

I've been working on effectively harvesting and choosing keywords to best power and adnetworks like Google/Yahoo/MSN. I believe it's much harder than simply producing good search results. Search results are targeted at people explicitly looking for information, so in that sense it's like an auto-generated yellowpages entry, people want to click on something. The adverts on these pages benefit from the explicit nature of the search.

How do you do the same for display advertising on the rest of the non-SERP pages of the web? You get one shot at providing value, a bit like trying to hit the green from the rough and through a stand of trees. A subtle art indeed, and great fun to work on.