i290-1:   Search Engines: Technology, Society, and Business
(Graduate Student Version)

   Course Information, Fall 2007
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Search Engines: Technology, Society, and Business
i290-1 (Graduate Student Version)

Mondays 10:00am-12:00pm (1 unit, S/U only)
155 Kroeber Hall
CCN: 42745
Prerequisites: None.
Open to Graduate Students in all fields

( Undergraduate version of this course)

Course Logistics

To earn 1 unit, you must attend the lecture series which runs from 10:00-12:00 on Mondays in Room 155 Kroeber Hall. Attendance is required; you can only miss 2 classes all semester or fail the class. To take the course for 1 unit, you must sign up with a Pass/Not Pass grading option.


We will schedule a set of top-notch experts to speak during Fall 2007. To see the kind of speakers we expect to have, view the schedule from Fall 2005. As speakers are confirmed, we'll add their names and dates to these webpages.

The organizer, Prof. Marti Hearst, is an Associate Professor at SIMS, and has done extensive research on search user interfaces. She was on the Science Advisory Board for Search at Yahoo from 2004-2005 and for Altavista from 2002-2004. She will provide the introduction to the course, devise the homework assignments, and create lectures for topics that are not covered by other speakers.


The World Wide Web brings much of the world's knowledge into the reach of nearly everyone with a computer and an internet connection. The availability of huge quantities of information at our fingertips is transforming government, business, and many other aspects of society.

For most people, Web search engines (such as Google and Yahoo) are technologies which have enormous influence on how people find and think about information. They are the gateways, (or some might argue, gate keepers) to this vast sea of information. With the rising importance of search engines come new legal, business, and policy questions and considerations.

This course will examine these issues via a series of lectures from experts in academia and industry. Students will first gain an understanding of the basics of how search engines work, and then explore how search engine design impacts business and culture. Topics include search advertising and auctions, search and privacy, search ranking, internationalization, anti-spam efforts, local search, peer-to-peer search, and search of blogs and online communities.


Marti Hearst
212 South Hall, 510-642-8016


None required. Suggested readings:

Modern Information Retrieval by Baeza-Yates and Ribeiro-Neto

Mining the Web by Soumen Chakrabarti