Over the past decades, there have been significant efforts on developing robust and easy-to-use query interfaces to databases. So far, the typical query interfaces are GUI-based visual query interfaces. Visual query interfaces however, have limitations especially when they are used for accessing large and complex datasets. Therefore, we are developing a novel query interface where users can use natural language expressions to help author visual queries. Our work enhances the usability of a visual query interface by directly addressing the "knowledge gap" issue in visual query interfaces. We have applied our work in several real-world applications. Our preliminary evaluation demonstrates the effectiveness of our approach.
Interactive tools like user interfaces help democratize data access for end-users by hiding underlying programming details and exposing the necessary widget interface to users. Since customized interfaces are costly to build, automated interface generation is desirable. SQL is the dominant way to analyze data and there already exists logs to analyze data. Previous work proposed a syntactic approach to analyze structural changes in SQL query logs and automatically generates a set of widgets to express the changes. However, they do not consider layout usability and the sequential order of queries in the log. We propose to adopt Monte Carlo Tree Search(MCTS) to search for the optimal interface that accounts for hierarchical layout as well as the usability in terms of how easy to express the query log.
How would search engine evolve in the next 10 years? When we talk about search engines today, search boxes and search results come to our minds. What might future search engines look like? But we would be happy to have a much more powerful search engine that we may see, hear and even feel in different scenarios, different products or different interfaces. Firstly, deeper understanding of user's intent, deeper understanding of content and more accurate matching of intent and content would empower the search engine.
Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs) are capable of radically disrupting the way we search for and consume information on the Internet. The convergence of several trends and technologies has resulted in a new interface through which people will be able to interact with your business. This will have a dramatic impact -- if your long-term marketing/business plan doesn't account for IPAs, you may be in the same boat as those people who said they didn't need a website in the early 2000s. If we look to pre/early Internet, then the primary interface to most businesses was the humble phone. Over the phone you could speak to a business and find out what they had in stock, when they'd be open, whether they had space for your reservation, etc., and then you could go on to order products, ask for directions, or place reservations.
It's hard to imagine a life without a search engine that knows what it's doing. I remember the days of AltaVista and co, search engines that just dump random pages on you for every given query. I was so excited to see Google enter the scene and immediately do everything right -- the results were great, it was fast and it had no ads. Didn't take long before I was hooked. But a lot has happened in the past twenty years and a lot will happen in the next.