Lubbock Day 2011 – Tuesday, 7th June
Professor Thomas Hofmann, Director of Engineering, Google Zurich, gave this year’s prestigious Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture. Guests included academics, alumni, students and representatives from industry and government, as well as a number of pupils and teachers from schools in Oxfordshire.
Pictured from left to right are: Dr Alastair Howatson (Lubbock Trustee); Professor Guy Houlsby (Head of the Department of Engineering Science); Professor Thomas Hofmann (Guest Lecturer, Google Zurich); Lord Avebury (Chairman of the Lubbock Trust).
Professor Hofmann’s lecture was titled, “Google – 1 billion searches a day and counting”. He provided a fascinating insight into some of the software and hardware strategies adopted by Google to provide core services such as efficient search as well as more advanced features such as Google Suggest, Realtime Search, AdWords and AdSense.
Professor Hofmann provided an overview of Google-scale computing and explained why the speed of light is simply not fast enough for information engineering at this scale. His talk further touched on the development cycle adopted within Google designed specifically to allow for creativity to percolate through to the production stage in a robust and time-efficient manner and provided a preview of things yet to come in terms of more commercial applications such as Google Product Search and Google Wallet.
In recent years the term 'Google' has become synonymous with an ability to accurately and efficiently master the torrent of information making up the world-wide web. Today, Google indexes of the order of one trillion URLs and services around one billion search-requests every day. Google AdSense, which selects and displays advertising specifically tailored to the content of a webpage, now reaches over three-quarters of the global population. Despite the deceptively simple interface encountered by the end-user, this success is based on often pioneering solutions to truly vast scale information engineering challenges.
Professor Hofmann’s lecture slides are available to download.
With special thanks to the Trustees of the Maurice Lubbock Memorial Trust for their continued support.