Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

“YouPivot”: Contextual Search Goes Digital

October 20th, 2011 / in research horizons, Research News / by Erwin Gianchandani

YouPivot in action [image courtesy Joshua Hailpern via IEEE Spectrum].In today’s IEEE Spectrum:

Imagine if you could conjure up a key piece of knowledge you had forgotten by having a computer summon everything you were seeing, hearing, and doing at the time to help jog your memory. Researchers in Illinois are now developing such technology, which will help people relive the past to search for lost data. The aim of the software, called YouPivot, currently in beta [but expected to be released for Google’s Chrome Web browser in spring 2012], is to find digital information by tapping into how human memory works.


“I like giving the example of searching for your car keys,” says computer scientist Joshua Hailpern at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who started to develop YouPivot while at Google in 2010. “You are always told, ’Think about where you last had them.’ When you mentally retrace your steps, you may realize that when you were making your shopping list, you left your keys in the fridge next to the milk.”


Hailpern says that YouPivot allows you to search your digital activity in the same way. For instance, it allows you to ask, “What was that website or PDF I was looking at when AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” was last playing?”

Check out an excellent video describing the technology after the jump…

…And learn more about how YouPivot works here or here.

Short Videos for Undergraduates

By the way, while we’re on the subject of “excellent videos” — a reminder that the CCC is soliciting very short proposals (one page max) describing the concept for a cool research video. For each accepted proposal, the CCC will award up to $1,000 to cover production costs. The goal is to showcase these videos in introductory CS classes to help undergraduate students learn about all the exciting fundamental research that goes on in computer science. Check out the solicitation, and see past videos here and here. We hope you’ll contact us with your proposal today.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

“YouPivot”: Contextual Search Goes Digital
  • Inder Singh