By Alex Zakharov
The major processing tools for Internet information are search engines (SE). Today's level of SE development does not allow using the collected informational potential of the Internet in full. As a direction of SE development, it is suggested to add the universal scheme of evolution (USE) approach to SE technology. It will allow for:
- Describing the evolution of any object
- Searching information and creating content (information, data) more objectively
- Presenting the unity of the world and unity of its trends of evolution more distinctly
The approach «Search Engine + USE-USESoft» would provide better quality of information searching on the Internet.
Search engine, Internet, ranking, disadvantage, evolution, tag, latent links, trends of evolution, universal scheme of evolution (USE)
Acquaintance with the Internet, as a rule, begins from the search engine. Any information search is the process of revealing the specified subject, which satisfies certain conditions of the search (inquiry) to the type of information (the facts, the data, etc.). A classic example of the intuitive leap is Archimedes' bathtub realization that he could measure a metal's volume by the amount of water it displaced. "Eureka, I have found it!" That flash of inspiration is the final and fast moment in all processes. The first stage is preparation, when you search out any information that might be relevant.
Such creative flashes of insight may be the result of a deeper process, described by psychologist Howard Gruber as "a long pull punctuated by small insights that result in (and form) a constant shifting of frames of reference."1 Weeks or years of gradual work can culminate suddenly in an intense moment of realization.
The durations of the moment of solution appearance compared to the stage of information gathering are absolutely incomparable. The latter process is time consuming. Because of that, it is important to organize searching and processing information by the most advanced informational tool – the Internet. Therefore, the development (improvement) of the work of search engines is a priority.
Functioning of Search Engines
The functioning of the majority of search engines can be described by four stages:
- Collects (gathers) the information, indexes the information and saves it into a database
- Parses found words into main morphemes
- Chooses all documents containing a set of keywords from the database
- Presents documents from Internet pages that have the highest search rank, the highest accuracy of a set of keywords, were most recently updated, etc.
The third and fourth stages begin when the user addresses a search engine with an inquiry (with a set of keywords).
Such multi-parametric selection is called the ranking of search results. These ranking mechanisms distinguish search systems from one another. Each search system tries to position its specific mechanisms of information (documents) ranking to occupy the leading position in the search market.
Search Engines Problems
Probably, it is not a mistaken suggestion that a significant part of Internet users are interested in history (changes through time, evolution) of things they "touch" at work or otherwise in their daily lives. This suggestion coordinates properly with the fact that articles in encyclopedias start with history sections. In scientific publications, the historical introduction is standard. This is unsurprising, because as French philosopher and Jesuit preist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin states in The Phenomenon of Man, "Evolution is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, as systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforth if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow."
Internet encyclopedias describe history (evolution), too. For example, Wikipedia articles, as a rule, include a history section.
| Figure 1: Wikipedia Headings2|
As a rule, when looking for information from the Internet, the list of links concerning history (evolution) is provided in the first lines.
| Figure 2: "Steam Engine" Search Results|
If someone inquires, for example, for "steam engine history," the list of references will be given out, but without order in the chronology or in the format of the facts' descriptions.
| Figure 3: "Steam Engine History" Results|
Practically any webpage describes the chronology of steam engine in its own specific manner and by means of its own specific set of facts. Figure 4 shows the three top-ranked results for "steam engine history."
| Figure 4: Top Three Results for "Steam Engine History"|
Lines of Search Engine Development
From a developer's point of view: Douglas Merrill, a Google vice president of technology says, "We want(ed) to develop the search engine, which could provide:
- The content creation,
- The tagging all existed information for all languages of the globe, and
- The connection with automatic algorithms, which can discover the latent links between different things (objects).
Generally speaking, we want to create mix of UGC (user generated content), classification and tagging by community and Artificial Intelligence; it would help people work more effectively."
From a universal scheme of evolution point of view: The trends of engineering systems' evolution, which are well-known in TRIZ and in inventors' activities, could be used as a pattern for evolution description. Or more precisely, both trends and their structure, in the form of the USE and the computer program USESoft, which was developed on a USE basis.3
| Figure 5: Universal Scheme of Evolution|
The directions of creation of search engine, which were emphasized by Google's Merill, correspond to the features of the USE-USESoft approach:
- Search engine accompanied by USE-USESoft will generate content (information about object) in accordance with user's request;
- Search engine accompanied by USE-USESoft will create tags for information, which concern objects – it will ready descriptions (standard characteristics) of evolution phases from the universal scheme;
- USE-USESoft contains the latent links between any things (objects) in the form of USE structure. During request processing the USE (i.e., its boxes and links) will be filled with information about the specific object and then will be presented to the user.
Actually, the USE-USESoft approach will be an addition for search engines, i.e., it will be the pattern (or form) for processing and providing information about the object. Before searching for a needed webpage that does not exist, it will be created "on the fly" in accordance with the user's request.
The Future of Search Engines
The following is a description for how a search engine may be organized in the future.
Open Google, which includes a new button, "Evolution of Object," and make a request. For example, if the user wishes to find information about a steam engine's history (evolution), then she can type "Steam Engine" into the search box and click the "Evolution of Object" button.
| Figure 6: Possible Future of a Google Search|
After clicking "Evolution of Object," the following would occur:
- Google calls to its internal universal scheme of evolution.
- Behind the scenes, Google enters name "Steam Engine" into USE and gets a steam engine's evolutionary descriptions (characteristics) from all 13 boxes.
- Google uses descriptions (characteristics) from Box 1 "Decreased Steam Engine Viability" for tag (low viability, steam engine, problems, disadvantages, competitors, decrease and so forth) generating and then uses these tags for an immediate new search. (This is a first attempt to describe tags. This work will be continued to find the most adequate list of tags for all boxes.) The found pages are ranked and saved in the search database.
- Google uses descriptions (characteristics) from Box 2 "Decreased Steam Engine Ideality" for tag (low value, steam engine, low efficiency, disadvantages, harmful functions, etc.) generation and then uses these tags for an immediate new search. The found pages are ranked and saved in the search database.
- Google uses descriptions (characteristics) from Box 3 "New Steam Engine Development/Creation/Design" for tag (new steam engine, development/creation/design and so forth) generation then uses these tags for an immediate new search. The found pages are ranked and saved in the search database.
- Google uses descriptions (characteristics) from Box 5 "Steam Engines Combining" for tag (steam engines, combining and so forth) generation and then uses these tags for an immediate new search. The found pages are ranked and saved in the search database.
(The processing of Boxes 4 "Existing Steam Engine Development," 6 and 7 "Revealing of Steam Engine's Harmful Effects," and 8 "Quantitative and/or qualitative changes of elements and/or links inside Steam Engine" is not described.)
After all boxes are processed and information has been gathered throughout the cycle, Google provides the user information (data) about the steam engine evolution, according to the order of boxes in USE.
| Figure 7: USE Search for "Steam Engine"|
In such a form the user has a consistent description of the evolution of the steam engine. Check Box 1 – "first steam engine creation." At this time, the most adequate webpage returned will be a page on Wikipedia.
| Figure 8: Google Search for "First Steam Engine Creation"|
The list of webpages has changed from the first attempt, where the set of words "steam," "engine" and "history" were used for the search.
USE is a logical and strong structure; if the user did not get data corresponding to some USE box, the user will understand at once that some information is missing. This understanding will help to re-start the search of specific information in a well-known direction. This understanding is the guiding light for both cases:
- Such information exists and it can be found – the tool is a more narrow and detailed search.
- Such information does not exist and it can be created – the tool is a scientific approach.
Here the authors sees a strong analogy to the discovery of unknown chemical elements with the help of the periodic table – its empty cells (i.e., "informational holes") were signs that unknown elements ought to exist; furthermore – the neighboring cells suggested where these unknown elements could be found.
Advantages of the Suggested Approach
- Completeness and logics of evolution description for any object follows from the proofed universality of the USE-USESoft approach.
- The objectivity of content (information, data) during a search and the creation is performed by means of the «Search Engine + USE-USESoft» search.
- User – content involvement: It is obvious that the user's erudition, horizon of experience, professional skills, sometimes even the user's mental condition, influence the set of keywords for a search, and by that token, influence the results of search. Using «Search Engine + USE-USESoft» would allow for the decreasing these subjective factors.
- Author – content involvement: Today the tagging is the author's responsibility. So, the subjective author's factors play their role, too. As a result, the quality of the search, which is based on subjective tags, is lower than it can be if the tags were generated (created) automatically based on objective evolution representation.
- The USE-USESoft approach helps the user to see the important direction of evolution as systems combining or as the transition to super-system. Inventors' experiences show that it is hard to realize the necessity of such combining and find the second system for combining with the initial one.4
- The user, by means of the uniform representation of the evolution of different objects, is accustomed to seeing unity of the world and means of the world's description in the form of trends of evolution. This knowledge comes to the user not in the declarative form, but through the studied objects – constantly and from anywhere.
The suggested approach «Search Engine + USE-USESoft» (New SE) would provide new possibilities not only for information searching on the Internet, but also for the following:
- The New SE will present the evolution of any object. It is important to present the unity of the world and unity of its trends of evolution more distinctively to teach the user the dialectic, systemic view.
- The New SE will, by itself, be the tagging and/or creating tool for content. In such a way, the New SE will not play a passive role of finding and providing, but an active role. This is especially important for the conversion the ordinary Internet into a semantic Internet.
- The New SE will help the user to search information and/or create content (information, data) more objectively.
As it was supposed before: "… dialog with USESoft (or Search Engine + USESoft) may be similar to a conversation with the specialist, the TRIZ expert or with an AI system."5 Remember that artificial intelligence was pointed out by Douglas Merrill as a characteristic of future search engines.
add the universal scheme of evolution (USE) approach to SE technology.
- MacArthur, John D., "Human Nature of Creativity," http://www.cpsimoes.net/artigos/art_creat_hum_eng.html.
- Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia, Search term = steam engine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_engine.
- Zakharov, Alexey, "Universal Scheme of Evolution – Theory and Practice," The TRIZ Journal, June 2004; USE-USESoft Presentation, http://triz-evolution.narod.ru/USE_USESoft_Presentation_80825.pdf, August 25, 2008.
- Gerasimov, V. and L.Kozhevnikova, "Alternative Approach to Problems Formulation" and "Development Analytical Tool for Problems Formulation," Summit of TRIZ Developers Moscow, http://www.triz-summit.ru/ru/section.php?docId=3713, 2007.
- Zakharov, Alexey, "Explore the Future of TRIZ With the Trends of Evolution," The TRIZ Journal, May 2008.
About the Author:
Alex Zakharov, a 4th level certified TRIZ Specialist, is both a researcher and developer. Mr. Zakharov has assisted with many innovative projects in different companies to include IMCorp. and Pragmatic Vision Int'l. His main area of interest is with the evolution of methods of systems' transformation: from trials-and-errors to non-algorithmic methods, and from TRIZ to artificial intelligence. Contact Alex Zakharov at TRIZ-Evolution (at) Comcast.net.
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