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I always see job positions for web companies for Machine Learning. For example facebook always has this type of job opening. Anyways, i was curious as to what exactly do web companies use machine learning for. Is it for giving people ads based on their site surfing history or something like that.

I want to know because i have some experience with machine learning and it sounds like a fun thing to work on as long as i can convince the business guys to go ahead with it.

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2 Answers 2

Basically as we move toward Tim Berners-Lee vision of the "Semantic Web", people want software that can navigate information and make sense of it for them. Think of being able to ask a question to your search engine and get the EXACT answer you were looking for, possibly pulled together from multiple source automatically for you. Or an agent that looks at twitter to get the general opinions of a company in order to decide whether it should buy or sell stock in that company.

This is why companies are investing in machine learning. There is an astounding amount of information available on the web. Properly mining that information and making sense out of it is the next big step in computing.

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Interesting, do you think it would be used more as a BI tool? –  gprime Jan 31 '11 at 21:59
    
BI is one application but it goes beyond that. There are a number of examples of how machine learning has been applied. Computer Vision (Kinect is a huge example of a consumer application of CV), Speech Recognition, Natural Language Processing and Entity Extraction are some others. –  Mike Brown Jan 31 '11 at 22:25

If you have experience with deploying machine learning on a large scale, then you already know that the systems that employ machine learning as a basis for generating data are already extensively coupled with the technologies they run on. I guess that would seriously impede with your fun factor if you'd disagree with the overall mix they have in place.

There's always lots of crazy ideas you can go on about with the available domain data with creative research or exploration. Perhaps that's your thing? I would believe that what of it get's into production in big companies does so after proving it's use and getting meticulously scrutinized with resource consumption measurements and estimates by several different people, to the point that even something that might be very exciting for the users might not make it in (perhaps they've calculated that the size of the data could explode beyond what they'd like to invest into). I guess that would seriously impeded with your fun factor if you'd have a hard time associating the obvious potentials and their willingness to go through with it.

I'd just warn you that we don't all get it as good as Mikio Hirabayashi, to both develop the requirements and have complete freedom about the technologies that the system will run on.

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I always look for reasons to get paid to work on interesting things. Most of the stuff i do is PHP and it gets old really fast. I wish i had the freedom to choose my own tasks :) –  gprime Jan 31 '11 at 22:00

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