Department of
Computer Science

UoB ExaMiner

Mining and mapping the University’s research landscape


One of the main aims of the Exabyte Informatics research theme is to advance computing as the language of 21st century science. Proper computational support for scientists requires fundamental computer science research. Two recent developments are of note:

  1. The Exabyte team has designed and implemented a first prototype of the Exabyte Research Hub, which is a computational platform allowing scientists to store, curate and share their data; explore, apply and share computational methods enhancing the data; and pursue their aims as part of a larger community. The platform was demonstrated live in October ’09 at the HPC Symposium, and has already led to several possible avenues of interdisciplinary collaboration.
  2. We have collaborated with ILRT in the JISC-supported SubSift project to support academic peer review. SubSift matches submitted conference or journal papers to potential peer reviewers based on the similarity between the paper’s abstract and the reviewer’s publications as found in online bibliographic databases such as Google Scholar. The project was recently delivered in the form of web services designed to support not only peer review but also personalised data discovery and mashups, and has already been used by several major data mining conferences.

UoB ExaMiner Project

The ExaMiner project will build on the above tools to deliver functionality for mining and mapping the UoB research landscape. Specifically, the ExaMiner software will

  1. generate automatic profiles of researchers and research groups from UoB web pages;
  2. allow visual navigation of these profiles, as well as navigation by free-text query;
  3. provide social networking components, including the ability to store a personal profile and a network of interesting contacts, events and connections;
  4. notify a user of new resources in their sphere of interest; and
  5. improve performance over time by responding to user feedback.

It is important to note that this is neither a pure research project nor pure IT development but a combination of both, and as such complementary to related projects currently going on at UoB. Most closely related is ILRT’s Research Revealed project, which is primarily concerned with applying Semantic Web technology to create a single integrated view and query point for a broad range of otherwise unconnected repositories within UoB. The main differences are that ExaMiner mines free-form web content rather than institutional repositories and applies state-of-the-art AI techniques to uncover hidden connections.


Possible users include academics, research managers, current and prospective students, and the media. The ExaMiner project aims to demonstrate that a system based on this prototype would greatly improve visibility in the research community, the media, prospective students, and government. Looking beyond mapping a single institution, the ExaMiner project also plans to work with SARTRE at Cardiff University to investigate the extra challenge of mapping expertise across Universities.

Further Details

To try out the latest version of the ExaMiner software go here.

For further information please contact Simon Price or Peter Flach.

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