Lecture to reveal software that searches as you browse

By Jennifer Kang

It’s called service-oriented computing: intelligent software that performs automatic searches based on the material you browse on the Web. Baylor’s Department of Computer Science will host a presentation Wednesday detailing the technicalities of this new software.

Dr. Brian Blake, associate dean for research in the college of engineering and professor of computer science at the University of Notre Dame, has been working with various software systems for more than 10 years.

He will present at 12:20 p.m. Wednesday in 209 Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building. The presentation is open to all students.

When people use the Internet to buy books or airline tickets, this action requires the consumer to manually input information and press buttons to navigate.

The idea of service-oriented computing means in the future, intelligent software will be able do these things automatically, Blake said.

“You may find that you are sending a text or chat online saying that you’re going somewhere,” Blake said.

“You might have intelligent software in the future that can see that and proactively go out and look for prices for airline tickets,” Blake added.

A simplistic example of Blake’s service-oriented computing is Google’s toolbar. The Google toolbar offers users an easier way to perform Google Web searches while also accessing Gmail, saved bookmarks and Web history. The toolbar includes tools like translation and spell checker.

“Google’s toolbar enables them to look at what messages you’re writing and suggest what pages are relevant,” Blake said. “Imagine that you go a step further and actually get proposed things that normally require you to press buttons to do.”

Dr. Greg Speegle, professor and interim chair of the computer science department, said the application of Blake’s presentation simplifies vast amounts of information from many sources.

“One of the big challenges that people have is collecting information from different places so that they can get an overview of what’s really out there. What’s really true and known,” Speegle said. “So what Dr. Blake is looking at is how we can take advantage of this system to pull together all this information from all these diverse sources. And, he’s even talking about in the future how we’re going to have things like a smart refrigerator or a smart oven. You will have devices that know things.”

Speegle said the Baylor computer science department includes software engineering majors who work on similar programs to Blake’s service-oriented software.

According to a University of Notre Dame research overview, this type of software program will help businesses and individuals focus on the “becoming Internet,” which is a new form of the Internet that will organize information through an automated approach.

“I think the main thing to take away is that the Internet has provided us opportunities to more easily collaborate, and that’s not just with information, but collaborate with things that we can provide,” Blake said. “So humans have the ability to provide some information or are able to use applications in such a way that is very personalized. Then there should be ways on the becoming Internet to be able to use that information so humans don’t have to do it firsthand.”