Chetana Gavankar’s Defense

Chetana Gavankar, a research scholar of the IITB-Monash Joint PhD program successfully presented her defense viva on 16th May 2017 for her Ph.D. thesis titled ‘Ontology Population and Concept Search across Ontologies: Challenges and Methodologies.’ Her research focused on Semantic web search, which is a proposed development of the World Wide Web in which data in web pages is structured and tagged in such a way that it can be read directly by computers. In earliest days of information revolution, finding information used to be the greatest challenge, but in era of ‘Big Data’, the focus has shifted to sifting through all the information available and finding what you need when you need it. Search engines such as Google use programs called spiders or crawlers which go from page to page on the net following links, which are then indexed. The results are displayed as a list of pages ranked as per the search criteria. This method can throw up millions of pages. The searcher then has to go through as many pages to find the ones that are most relevant. Search accuracy can be improved if the search is driven by the meaning of what the searcher specifies rather than the specified words, which is known as Semantic searching.

Semantic searching is highly effective in retrieving information in research. As the name implies, semantic searching employs semantics, which is the study of meaning in language. Natural language, which humans use to communicate as opposed to machine languages used by computers, have rules that govern how words interact, based on their meanings. These rules create the essential framework that enables speakers of a language to understand one another. An ontology defines a common vocabulary for researchers who need to share information in a domain.

Chetana has created a novel approach that searches, indexes and ranks concepts across ontologies. This would give search engines the semantic knowledge to conduct searches effectively. The creation of ontologies contributes towards building the knowledge base for intelligent web search.

“These methods are generic and domain-independent. They would benefit the search engine providers as well as end users for search optimization”, says Chetana

Chetana was jointly guided by Prof. Ganesh Ramakrishnan and Prof. N. L. Sarda (IIT Bombay), Prof. Yuan-Fang Li (Monash University) and Dr. Radha Krishna Pisipati (Infosys) for her project. She is the 57th graduate from the Academy.

We wish Chetana all the best for her future!