New software helps find right person for a job

October 16th, 2008 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 16 (IANS) Dutch-sponsored researcher Krisztian Balog has developed a computer programme that speeds up the process of finding the right person in an organisation’s network. This technique can also make it easier to search for specific people on the Internet, where an increasing amount of information is available nowadays. Yet can all this information be found?

The new programme could enable a manager to quickly find out who had previously worked on a certain project without having to plough through a pile of paperwork.

Such a search system is not only useful within companies but can also ensure a better exchange of information between companies and the press or between companies and employment agencies. For example, an HRM department can use the search system to find out more about job applicants.

Search engines are already effective in searching for documents, yet are far less good at searching for entities, such as persons. Krisztian Balog introduces two new models in his thesis that make finding the right person quicker and more accurate.

Balog specifically focuses on searching and finding people within companies and organisations. In the business world in particular, an effective search system can be very useful, according to a release of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Balog’s Ph.D thesis focuses on two methods of information disclosure, compiling a list of experts for a subject and making a list of subjects per expert.

The problem of searching for people is that a person is not a collection of words. Text, however, is. When you search for a text you submit a number of words and then find texts that contain these.

Such a search query is relatively uncomplicated. A person cannot be found in the same manner. However, a person does leave a digital trail because his or her name can be found in the texts.

Balog’s programme automatically links the information in these texts to a person. Balog developed a method that uses these digital traces to compile a list of subjects for a person. The programme accordingly selects the person who can satisfy the criteria of the search query.

Balog combines so-called generative language models with learning algorithms. The language models expose patterns in the language use with respect to persons and subjects.

Learning algorithms recognise people and organisations in texts. Balog’s methods have been extensively tested, for example on the intranet of large organisations with people at different locations. The method has also been tested on the intranet of a Dutch university.

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