Yahoo! Awarded Highest Technical Honor for Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced that Dr. Raghu Ramakrishnan, Yahoo! vice president, research fellow and chief scientist for the Audience Technology and Cloud Computing & Data Infrastructure (CCDI) groups, has been awarded the 2008 Innovation Award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD). ACM’s SIGKDD Innovation Award is the highest technical award in the fields of data mining and knowledge discovery.

“ACM SIGKDD is pleased to present Dr. Raghu Ramakrishnan with its 2008 Innovation Award for his important contributions to the advancement of the data mining and knowledge discovery,” said Gregory Piatetsky­Shapiro, chair of ACM SIGKDD. “Dr. Ramakrishnan’s visionary research on techniques for scaling data mining algorithms to large datasets, and on mining ordered and streaming data has significantly influenced ongoing developments in the industry.”

The award is given to one individual or one group of collaborators who has made significant technical innovations in the field of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery that have been transferred to practice in significant ways, or that have significantly influenced direction of research and development in the field. The previous ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award winners include Rakesh Agrawal (IBM), Jerome Friedman (Stanford University), Heikki Mannila (Helsinki University of Technology), Jiawei Han (University of Illinois at Urbana­Champaign), Leo Breiman (University of California, Berkeley), Ramakrishnan Srikant (Google), and former Yahoo! Chief Data Officer Usama Fayyad (2007).

Ramakrishnan’s contributions span foundational technical innovation and algorithmic and systems aspects of data mining. His work on scalable data mining algorithms started with BIRCH, the first truly scalable clustering algorithm, and his resulting paper is one of the highest­cited data mining resources in the last decade.

Ramakrishnan later extended this work into a clustering framework for arbitrary metric spaces. At Yahoo!, Ramakrishnan is responsible for helping to create a comprehensive, high­performance and globally scalable computing and storage infrastructure. In his CCDI role, he spearheads the scientific innovation required to develop Yahoo!’s cloud initiatives, leveraging expertise in data serving, grid computing, storage, and virtualization technology. In addition, Ramakrishnan heads the Community Systems group in Yahoo! Research, and is chief scientist for the Audience Technologies group, where he has led the research on content optimization, i.e., the task of algorithmically selecting the right content to display on a page when a user visits a web portal.

“I am honored to be recognized with this prestigious award. My work has been carried out in close collaboration with many students and colleagues over the years, and in accepting this award, I represent all of them,” said Ramakrishnan. “At Yahoo!, advancements in content optimization are already having significant impact in practice and our research in cloud computing will result in the development of a family of data hosting and analysis services that will make it much easier to conduct data mining on the massive datasets seen at a web­scale.”

The 2008 Innovation Award will be presented at KDD­2008 Opening Plenary Session on August 24, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. Ramakrishnan will present the Innovation Award Lecture immediately following the award presentation:

ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award Talk

Sunday, August 24, 2008

6:45 pm – 7:30 pm

Casablanca North

To register to attend the 14th annual ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, please visit:

About Yahoo! Research

Yahoo! Research is focused on developing the science that will underlie the next generation of technologies and businesses helping to shape the future of the Web. Yahoo! Research continues to be integrated closely with business units and product teams throughout the company, enabling the scientific approach and expertise of the organization to directly benefit Yahoo!’s consumers and advertisers. For example, Yahoo! has incorporated algorithmic research into the company’s advanced platforms for social media and search, which allow users to find and share the information that they want, when they want. The company has also leveraged research on marketplace design and pricing mechanisms for sponsored search.

About Dr. Raghu Ramakrishnan

Prior to joining Yahoo!, Ramakrishnan was a Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was founder and CTO of QUIQ, a company that pioneered question­answering communities, powering Ask Jeeves’ AnswerPoint as well as customer­support for companies such as Compaq.

Ramakrishnan’s research is in the area of database systems, with a focus on data mining, online communities, and web­scale data management. He has developed scalable algorithms for clustering, decision­tree construction, and itemset counting, and was among the first to investigate mining of continuously evolving, stream data. His work on query optimization and deductive databases has found its way into commercial database systems, and his work on extending SQL to deal with queries over sequences has influenced the design of window functions in SQL: 1999. His paper on the Birch clustering algorithm received the ACM SIGMOD 10­Year Test­of­Time award, and he has written the widely­used text “Database Management Systems” (WCB / McGraw-Hill, with J. Gehrke), now in its third edition.

He is chair of ACM SIGMOD, on the Board of Directors of ACM SIGKDD and the Board of Trustees of the VLDB Endowment, and has served as editor­in­chief of the Journal of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, associate editor of ACM Transactions on Database Systems, and the Database area editor of the Journal of Logic Programming.

Ramakrishnan is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and has received several awards, including a Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Madras, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, and an ACM SIGMOD Contributions Award.

Ramakrishnan received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987.

About ACM and SIGKDD

ACM SIGKDD ( – ACM’s Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining – is the premier professional organization dedicated to advancement of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining research and applications. ACM ( is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges.

About Yahoo! Inc.

Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide.

Yahoo! is focused on powering its communities of users, advertisers, publishers, and developers by creating indispensable experiences built on trust. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

Yahoo! and the Yahoo! logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Yahoo! Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.


Leave a Reply