Nicholas Schiefer's first ever science fair project earned him a gold medal at the 2011 Canada-Wide Science Fair and a trip to Slovakia with Team Canada-MILSET. Now he's caught the attention of the Globe and Mail,appearing in the Technology section of today's edition.
Schiefer's project, titled "Apodora" involved the development of a better way to search small web documents, such as tweets and news headlines.Created using linear algebra and discrete math, his novel algorithm gives results with approximately twice the precision of standard search algorithms when applied to short text items.
He notes, "A lot of traditional algorithms for information retrieval tend to break down when you apply them to micro search. The reason for that is that most, nearly all existing algorithms make the independent assumption – that all words are completely independent from other words.
Obviously, that is false, but it’s been shown to work pretty well.
But that assumption breaks down quite badly with micro search. You do not have room to stuff your text full of synonyms and descriptions of everything you say so a search engine can find it."
At CWSF 2011 Nicholas won a senior gold medal, the senior Information Challenge (sponsored by Intel Canada), the Actuarial Foundation of Canada Award, and entrance scholarships to five universities across Canada.
Click the link to read the full Globe and Mail article.
Photo:Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail