Probase is a Microsoft Research project described as an “ongoing project that focuses on knowledge acquisition and knowledge serving.” Its primary goal is to “enable machines to understand human behavior and human communication.” It can be compared to Cyc, DBpedia or Freebase in that it is attempting to compile a massive collection of structured data that can be used to power artificial intelligence applications.
Who knew Microsoft was so interested in things only IBM Research’s Watson could demonstrate? AI (artificial intelligence) seems to be targeted at Bing search engine results. And in order to back this all up, they have to ditch their huge commitment to Microsoft SQL Server and go for a NoSQL database in order to hold all the unstructured data. This seems like a huge shift away from desktop and data center applications and something much more oriented to a cloud computing application where collected data is money in the bank. This is best expressed in the example given in the story of Google vs. Facebook. Google may collect data, but it is really delivering ads to eyeballs. Whereas Facebook is just collecting the data and sharing that to the highest bidder. Seems like Microsoft is going the Facebook route of wanting to collect and own the data rather than merely hosting other people’s data (like Google and Yahoo).
- Microsoft Research Watch: AI, NoSQL and Microsoft’s Big Data Future (readwriteweb.com)