#YahooDataCenter @HowardU = !!!

By Ron Brachman, Chief Scientist & Head of Yahoo Labs

Here’s a recipe for awesome:

Take 200 amazing engineering students and faculty of Howard University in Washington, D.C.


  • 1 big purple truck
  • 125 servers
  • A little bit of purple paint
  • A whole lot of excitement

Mix together on a beautiful October day, and voilà: a brand new, first-in-class Yahoo Data Center @ Howard University!

(Check out more awesome photos!)

We were so pleased to donate 125 servers to power the brand new Yahoo Data Center at Howard University earlier today.

Our big purple truck pulled up to Howard this morning and offloaded the 125 servers, donations from our Data Center Operations team. We launched our academic server donation program three years ago to help power the great innovation coming out of key U.S. computer science research programs at the university level. Since our launch, we have donated about 2,500 servers to more than thirty institutions around the world.


The faculty and students of Howard’s Computer Learning and Design Center (CLDC) are doing some impressive technological research, including human-computer interaction, database security, artificial intelligence and mobile engineering. Dating back to its founding in 1911, Howard’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences (CEACS) has led the effort to increase the number of minorities, particularly African Americans, in fields including engineering and computer science. Just this year, Howard University was ranked as the national top producer of African-American bachelor’s degree recipients who went on to earn science and engineering doctoral degrees in the United States.

Our team joined Howard University Provost Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick and Howard University Dean Lorraine Fleming, Ph.D., PE to cut the ribbon on the new Yahoo Data Center. Howard decked out the data center with a fresh coat of purple paint and ournew logo to mark the occasion. These new servers represent a significant equipment upgrade to maximize operating performance and speed for students and faculty alike.

We then had the pleasure of participating in an event to mark the occasion with Howard University computer science students and faculty. Tekedra N. Mawakana, Global Head of Public Policy for Yahoo, underscored the importance of this donation to mark Yahoo’s commitment to the local Washington, D.C. community. LaFawn Bailey represented our talent acquisition team and introduced the talented computer science students of Howard to our company culture, emphasizing our focus on attracting and retaining the best talent from around the world to help us in our mission of making people’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining.

We had so much fun connecting with the students and faculty of Howard University today and we’re excited to strengthen our relationship into the future.

From: Yahoo’s Tumblr

2013 Yahoo ACE Award Recipients Selected

From idea to product innovation, Yahoo Labs is responsible for the algorithms behind the quality of the Web experience for hundreds of millions of users. The scientists at Yahoo Labs strongly believe that academic collaboration across a breadth of disciplines enhances the quality of those Web experiences. As such, Yahoo Labs scientists work to cultivate meaningful relationships with colleagues in academia to pioneer innovations that improve the Internet generally, and the Yahoo experience more specifically, in both evolutionary and revolutionary ways.

It is with the spirit of collaboration and innovation that Yahoo Labs is proud to announce the 2013 Yahoo ACE (Academic Career Enhancement) Award recipients for the 2013-2014 academic year. These are five top young professors at leading research universities around the world who are competitively selected among many promising first- and second-year faculty members at institutions conducting Yahoo-relevant academic research. The Award includes an unrestricted monetary gift which may be used in any way the recipients see fit to help get their academic careers off to a great start. Previously, funds have been used toward purchasing research-related hardware and software, as well as hiring students to work on research projects.

This year’s ACE recipients include:

Professor Katie Davis, University of Washington

Katie Davis - 2013 ACE recipientDr. Davis is an assistant professor at the University of Washington Information School, where she studies the role of digital media technologies in adolescents’ academic, social, and moral lives.

Digital youth and how younger generations use technology and are motivated to learn skills via technology and digital media are important areas of interest to Yahoo. Davis’ expertise in youth culture and technology are directly relevant to research underway at Yahoo Labs’ Mobile Research group. Davis is considered to be one of the top faculty conducting research in this area in the US and internationally.

Professor Daniel Deutch, Tel Aviv University

Daniel Deutch - 2013 ACE recipientDr. Deutch is an assistant professor in the Computer Science department of Tel Aviv University.

Deutch’s research focuses on advanced database applications and Web data management, studying both theoretical and practical aspects of issues such as data provenance, analysis of Web applications and data, and dealing with data uncertainty. One of his current projects includes the design of infrastructure for harvesting information from crowds. This project and Deutch’s technical interests align well with research underway at Yahoo Labs.

Professor Brent Hecht, University of Minnesota

Brent Hecht - 2013 ACE recipient

Dr. Hecht is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota.

With interests that lie at the intersection of human–computer interaction, geography, and big data, Hecht’s research centers on the relationship between big data and human factors like culture. A major focus of his work involves volunteered geographic information and its application in location-aware technologies. His background makes him uniquely qualified to tackle problems that involve both computer science and geography. Dr. Hecht’s research will have lasting repercussions across a plurality of research at Yahoo Labs, from human-computer interaction to information retrieval to multimedia.

Professor Mark Silberstein, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

Mark Silberstein - 2013 ACE recipientDr. Silberstein is an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He is a specialist in high-performance computing, distributed storage, operating systems, and genetic analysis.

 Aspects of Silberstein’s research are tightly aligned with areas of interest to the Systems Research team at Yahoo Labs in Haifa. Scientists at Yahoo Labs intend to collaborate with Silberstein on various projects including the scalable implementations of machine-learning algorithms on high-performance hardware (GPGPU, etc).

Professor Yizhou Sun, Northeastern University

Yizhou Sun - 2013 ACE recipientDr. Sun is an assistant professor of computer science at Northeastern University.

Sun’s principal research interest is in large-scale information and social networks, and more generally in data mining, database systems, statistics, machine learning, information retrieval, and network science, with a focus on modeling novel problems and proposing scalable algorithms for large-scale, real-world applications. These applications include, but are not limited to: social computing, social media, business intelligence, medical and health informatics, and cyber-physical systems. Scientists at Yahoo Labs look forward to working with Sun to explore Yahoo’s vast data by mining heterogeneous information networks.

Congratulations to each distinguished professor. At Yahoo Labs, we look forward to enhancing these important relationships with productive collaborations for years to come.

Hack University Events Inspire Student Innovation in India

Hack UWe wrapped a successful campus hack season in India with three back-to-back Hack University events at India’s top tech colleges this past month, including IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi and IIT Kanpur.

Yahoo Hack University events are extremely popular at these tech campuses, and this season the energy and excitement were off the charts — over 730 students participated and demoed 115 hack prototypes across all three Hack Universities! With 590 registrations, 293 hackers and 51 Demos, Hack University Kanpur broke all records and became the largest university hack event ever hosted by Yahoo, globally.

Our talented Yahoos, including leaders, product managers and engineers from our Bangalore office, volunteered their time to guide the students through the entire Hack University cycle – from understanding complex web problems to envisioning a prototype and developing an actual hack.

The awesome mentoring by Yahoos prompted students to make problem-solving breakthroughs with science. Most of the hack prototypes developed by these students leveraged solutions for various Yahoo properties like Answers, News and Travel in areas such as entity extraction, sentiment analysis, personalization, review mining, content quality, text summarization and natural language processing.

The grand prize winner at IIT Delhi was Polarizer—a sentiment analyzer for news sites and debating forums that classifies comments as pros or cons and ranks them based on relevance. Another prototype, Yahoo Voices Bias Classifier from IIT Kanpur, scores search results from Yahoo Voices according to their information bias and sentiment. The results give the user a complete picture of the topic searched. IIT Bombay’s Time Glider is a media app that allows users to enter search terms and receive an interactive timeline of related news articles. Sports fans are going to love the Highlights Autogen from IIT Kanpur, which collates the exciting moments of a match by processing the audio signal based on the excitement levels of the audience and commentators.

As part of Yahoo’s Academic Relations (AR) program, Hack U serves to attract top talent while fostering creativity.

“We are breeding a culture of innovation internally and externally. Hack U helps us identify and build relationships with top universities – outcomes of which have been developing cutting-edge technology and competency development,” says Muthusamy Chelliah, head of academic relations at Yahoo Labs in India.

These Hack Univeristy events have helped us innovate with impressive students across India! It was a blast, and we look forward to meeting more talented developers at the next Hack U.

HackU 2013 - IIT Bombay

Hack U Delhi 2013

Hack U Kanpur

University of Illinois Chancellor Visits Yahoo!

“Learning and Labor” – It’s the motto for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It also succinctly and aptly describes the relationship between Yahoo! and the prestigious institution.

Yesterday, we were pleased to welcome Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise to our campus in Sunnyvale. The Chancellor’s visit provided a great opportunity for alumni and summer interns to get together for an intimate discussion regarding what they learned at Illinois and how it has enhanced their labor at Yahoo!.

For Mourad Bouache, a Yahoo! Senior Performance Engineer, this was a chance to brainstorm ways in which Yahoo! and the University could grow their relationship. Having completed a post doctorate internship at Illinois involving improving the performance of processor simulators using modern compiler techniques, Bouache provided welcome insight on collaboration possibilities.

It was a sentiment echoed by Chancellor Wise to build upon existing close ties and considerable investments, including a Yahoo! facility at the University’s Research Park that employs more than 110 software engineers. There, a unique student employment model enables bright minds to access some of the best talent in the industry with the possibility of becoming future fulltime employees themselves.

With top-five 2013 graduate and undergraduate engineering program rankings by U.S. News and World Report, Illinois is an excellent partner for innovation and problem solving. In recent years, Yahoo! made a $200,000 donation to the University for work on the open cloud-computing research testbed Open Cirrus, as well as a sixty-server cluster donation under the Y! Star program. Additionally, Illinois has produced five recipients of the Yahoo! Labs Faculty and Research Engagement Program (FREP) in the past three years.

We thank the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a close relationship of learning and labor, and look forward to continued mutual success and innovation.

Faculty Research and Engagement Program 2013 Recipients Selected

Legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” At Yahoo! Labs, we may not be experts in football strategy, but we strongly feel our science contributes to improving the problems of our modern world – and we are confident the best science comes about as a result of collaboration.

It is in the spirit of collaboration and desire to “win” answers to complex problems that we are excited to announce the recipients of the 2013 Yahoo! Faculty Research and Engagement Program (FREP). This academic outreach initiative is designed to produce the highest quality scientific collaborations and outcomes by engaging with faculty and students conducting research in areas of mutual interest. The FREP funds help academics across the globe collaborate with Yahoo! research scientists on new, exciting internet research studies and experiments.

In addition to the research gift, each recipient has the opportunity to collaborate directly with distinguished Yahoo! scientists and visit Yahoo! Labs. Suju Rajan of Yahoo! Labs will be working with Arindam Banerjee of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to scale contextual ranking for content personalization, and separately, with Benjamin Marlin of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to identify and exploit temporal patterns in online recommender systems. In her own words, Rajan explains the importance of the Faculty Research and Engagement Program:



We were extremely impressed with all of the submissions and would like to thank each professor who applied. Congratulations to the following recipients of the Yahoo! 2013 Faculty Research and Engagement Program:

Adriana Iamnitchi University of South Florida
Arindam Banerjee University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Aryeh Kontorovich Ben Gurion
Benjamin Marlin University of Massachusetts Amherst
Georgios Paltoglou University of Wolverhampton
Gert Lanckriet University of California San Diego
Graham Cormode University of Warwick
Huan Liu Arizona State University
Ioannis Konstas University of Edinburgh
Ismail Sengor Altingovde Middle East Technical University
Jiawei Han University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Joy Ying Zhang Carnegie Mellon University
Kamer Kaya The Ohio State University
Maarten de Rijke University of Amsterdam
Mausam University of Washington, Seattle
Max Welling University of Amsterdam
Nuno Vasconcelos University of California San Diego
Oren Kurland Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Qiaoling Liu Emory University
Roberto Grossi University di Pisa
Rossano Schifanella University degli Studi di Torino
Sebastiano Vigna University degli Studi di Milano
Slobodan Vucetic Temple University
Sunita Sarawagi Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Tsachy Weissman Stanford University
Varsha Apte Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Yee Whye Teh University of Oxford

At Yahoo! Labs, we’re committed to forging strong alliances with top faculty by collaborating on cutting edge research to advance Web Science. These collaborations will solve shared problems with measurable outcomes such as joint papers, advances in algorithm design, systems research, digital media studies and marketplace design. FREP supports all areas of Yahoo! Labs research.

If you have questions about the Faculty Research and Engagement Program please contact Kim Capps.

Y! STAR Travels to Europe – Donating Yahoo! Servers to Help Design Better Wave Engergy Converters!

As part of our Y! STAR Program (Yahoo! Servers to Academic Researchers) we donated 44 servers to the Centre for Ocean Energy Research at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth).  These machines will enable research that was impossible before in data-intensive computing and will be crunching data on renewable ocean wave power.

The donation is part of Yahoo!’s Y! STAR program (Yahoo! Servers To Academic Researchers) under which Yahoo! is refurbishing and donating decommissioned servers to university researchers. Over 1,500 servers have already been donated to 23 top universities in the U.S. and four universities in Switzerland through the Y! STAR Program, but NUI Maynooth is the first university in Ireland to receive a shipment. We are thrilled that these machines are helping with cutting-edge research in our community, and look forward to continuing our efforts with the Y! STAR Program!

Dan McCarthy from Yahoo! said: “Greater collaboration between top researchers and Yahoo! scientists and engineers around the world is a vital part of Yahoo!’s efforts to create inspiring and entertaining experiences for our users. I’m thrilled that these machines are having a second life here in Ireland and helping with cutting edge research.”

Ronan Costello, Assistant Director at the Centre for Ocean Energy Research National University of Ireland Maynooth added “This donation from Yahoo! will allow calculations that will lead to lower cost of renewable energy, contributing to a sustainable future. The hardware will be used to optimise the techno-economic performance of ocean wave energy conversion through an integrated analysis of the engineering, marine operations and economics. The research aims to provide a step change reduction in the cost of energy provided by wave energy conversion technologies. Such optimisation calculations are extremely computationally intensive and have only recently become practical but have already shown dramatic results.”

Yahoo! Sponsors CMU Silicon Valley Hackathon

Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley

Yahoo! was a proud sponsor of the Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley Masters students HTML5-themed hackathon. The hackathon attracted both undergraduate and graduate students and participants from the industry. The two day event focused on creating single-page HTML5 applications with Javascript for the logic.

In just 8 hours, the winning team, dubbed CoCoDojo, created an app that would allow programmers to edit and collaborate on code and brainstorm ideas on a virtual whiteboard. These students noticed that there was a need for a more useful collaborating tool amongst a group, especially if the group has members that are not located in the same region.

Congratulations are in order for the winning team, CoCoDojo (Collaborative Coding Dojo). This winning team includes graduate students Sky Hu, Lydian Lee, Clyde Li and Sean Xiao, and Daniel Fortner.

The event was a big success and Yahoo! was proud to sponsor an event that helps students build connections in a fun, competitive environment.

For additional information on the HTML5 hackathon, Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley, click here.

Yahoo! Labs Visits UCSD!


We had a great time with folks at UCSD! We met professors and students who are doing inspiring work. Gert Lanckriet, Lawrence Saul, Todd Coleman. Sanjoy Dasgupta, and Yaov Freund shared their work on machine learning, covering topics from efficient ways to find neighbors in high-dimensional spaces to a handwriting recognition system where the user and system train each other and to wearable electronics so small that they can be applied on a temporary tattoo. It was an exciting glimpse into the future.

Eric Bax, Research Scientist

Eric Bax, Research Scientist, started with a brief talk on validation of network classifiers, based on some work with James Li, a previous Yahoo! intern who is at Cornell University. Then they had fun simulating an online advertising marketplace. Professors and students became CEO’s, built teams, made deals with other teams, bid in an auction for ad calls, and found out how profitable their strategies could be. A team of professors acting as a data provider company came in with the most profit, through clever deal-making and a policy of selling to all. 

Everyone enjoyed pizza, and the CEOs got Yahoo! memory sticks to commemorate their short stints as captains of industry!


Yahoo! On the Road this Summer

Yahoo! On the Road

Yahoo! On the Road is the world’s first mobile entertainment and innovation festival.We’ll be driving cross-country from New York to San Francisco, Yahoo! On the Road will be stopping in a different city every day. Yahoo! On the Road kicks off on May 3, in New York City with John Legend & the Salomé Chamber Orchestra.  After finishing in the states, the tour will then jump the pond to Europe, starting in Berlin on June 11 and ending at the Yahoo! Wireless Festival in London on July 14. Musical performances will be streamed live for Yahoo! users everywhere at the Yahoo! On the Road site. The tour will also feature many of Yahoo!’s newly-reimaged products and experiences including Weather, Mail, Flickr, Yahoo! Music, and more.

Guided by entertainment reporter Ben Lyons, the Yahoo! On the Road tour will bring some of the world’s hottest bands, comedians, and surprise guests to inject surprise and entertainment into Yahoo! users’ day.

Whether it’s PEEPLES star Craig Robinson surprising patrons at a New York City restaurant, or one-of-a-kind performances by John Legend, Fall Out Boy, fun., The Lumineers, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Imagine Dragons, and Empire of the Sun, Yahoo! will make everyday activities anything but ordinary.


Ticket information:  For each concert, Yahoo! will be giving away tickets to fans who show off their Yahoo! pride at the designated bus stop in each city (while supplies last). Getting a ticket will be as easy as uploading a photo with Flickr or downloading the new Yahoo! Weather app. 


Yahoo! is working with Spotify to enhance the digital music experience for users. Spotify will be integrated into editorial content throughout the Yahoo! On the Road site, with select content featured using the Spotify Play Bar, a custom music player built for Yahoo! using the Spotify API.


Below are highlights of the upcoming events.




May 3

New York City, NY

John Legend & Salomé Chamber Orchestra

Ryan Leslie

Comedian, Craig Robinson

DJ Johnny Famous

May 7

Cincinnati, OH

Kendrick Lamar


Comedian, Julian McCullogh

DJ Johnny Famous

May 12

Milwaukee, WI

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Skylar Grey

DJ Clinton Sparks

May 13

Madison, WI

Fall Out Boy

Comedian, Sarah Tiana

DJ Clinton Sparks

May 15

St. Louis, MO

Imagine Dragons

Owl City

DJ Clinton Sparks

May 20

Dallas, TX

Empire of the Sun

Gold Fields

Comedian, Nick Rutherford

DJ Mr. Best

May 26

Seattle, WA


Capital Cities

Twenty-One Pilots

Willy Moon

DJ Michelle Pesce

May 28

Boise, ID

The Lumineers


Comedian, Adam Ray

Chef, Fabio Viviani

DJ Michelle Pesce

May 31

San Francisco, CA


DJ Michelle Pesce

Fans can find the complete entertainment line up, get ticket information or simply be a tour “roadie” by visiting 
Yahoo! On The Road online or going to our Flickr, Twitter, or Facebook pages.


About Yahoo!

Yahoo! is focused on making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining. By creating highly personalized experiences for our users, we keep people connected to what matters most to them, acrosdevices and around the world. In turn, we create value for advertisers by connecting them with the audiences that build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has offices located throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.netor the company’s blog (yodel.yahoo.com).

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


Yahoo!, Yahoo! On The Road and their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Yahoo! Inc.