Thursday, May 04, 2006

Writing a search engine

I just remembered this story...

Back in '96, I was part of a small team working on the HP support website. We had just started to look at incorporating a search engine and had hired Verity to integrate their search software with our site.

One afternoon, Jim, the project manager for search, invited a few of us to attend a Verity training session. I was really curious about how these search engine things worked, so I was happy to attend.

Derrick, the consultant, had given us a nice introduction to inverted indexes and stopwords, and I was intrigued. Ten minutes in, I stopped listening and started typing. Shortly afterward, Jim noticed I wasn't being as attentive as the others. He came over and asked me what I was up to.

"Oh, I'm writing a search engine in Perl"

Poor Jim.

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