Collective Intelligence in Action

Front Cover
Manning, 2008 - Computers - 397 pages
3 Reviews

There's a great deal of wisdom in a crowd, but how do you listen to a thousand people talking at once? Identifying the wants, needs, and knowledge of internet users can be like listening to a mob.

In the Web 2.0 era, leveraging the collective power of user contributions, interactions, and feedback is the key to market dominance. A new category of powerful programming techniques lets you discover the patterns, inter-relationships, and individual profiles-the collective intelligence--locked in the data people leave behind as they surf websites, post blogs, and interact with other users.

Collective Intelligence in Action is a hands-on guidebook for implementing collective intelligence concepts using Java. It is the first Java-based book to emphasize the underlying algorithms and technical implementation of vital data gathering and mining techniques like analyzing trends, discovering relationships, and making predictions. It provides a pragmatic approach to personalization by combining content-based analysis with collaborative approaches.

This book is for Java developers implementing Collective Intelligence in real, high-use applications. Following a running example in which you harvest and use information from blogs, you learn to develop software that you can embed in your own applications. The code examples are immediately reusable and give the Java developer a working collective intelligence toolkit.

Along the way, you work with, a number of APIs and open-source toolkits including text analysis and search using Lucene, web-crawling using Nutch, and applying machine learning algorithms using WEKA and the Java Data Mining (JDM) standard.

Purchase of the print book comes with an offer of a free PDF, ePub, and Kindle eBook from Manning. Also available is all code from the book.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Collective intelligence is very popular these days. Thanks to the Internet companies we can use this concept every day. I have to admit that I am a big fan of "intelligent" services. I search news on Digg, I listen to music through the player, I use Wikipedia, YouTube, Amazon etc. everyday. I have been wondering many times how these sites work. The curiosity led me to read "Collective Intelligence in Action". After I read it, I was surprised that this book is so practical. Theory is limited to minimum. After reading it, you should be able to add the CI features to the existing sites.
Author, Satnam Alag, has organized his work in a perfect way. Every chapter has an introduction, a summary and very handy references - I used them many times. All the mathematical concepts and definitions are shown in examples. There are lot of a Java code listings, therefore the basic knowledge of this language might be useful. The theoretical foundations are not necessary. Each chapter can be treated separately, but together they create coherent paper about recommendation system. The author of the code takes care not only about the correctness but also about the efficiency and the scalability.
The fact that Satnam presents a lot of stable and useful open source software is worth of noticing. Projects like Nutch, Lucene or Weka can be easily adapt to our services. The book shows how to do it from programmer's point of view (API).
I recommend "Collective Intelligence in Action" to the Java developers who would like to know how to build recommendation systems, intelligent search of theirs resources, automatic
tagging or network crawling. Book is worth reading even if you do not plan to use CI in your application. Base Web2.0 mechanisms are very easy to implement and do not require a lot of theoretical knowledge, Satnam Alag has proven this in his paper.
I would not recommend this book to data mining or text analysis experts. This is not an academic work, people who are looking for theoretical information about CI could be disappointed.

About the author (2008)

Satnam Alag, PhD, is currently the Vice President of Engineering at NextBio, a vertical search engine and a Web 2.0 collaboration application for the life sciences community. He is a seasoned software professional with over fifteen years of experience in machine learning and over a decade of experience in commercial software development and management. Dr. Alag worked as a consultant with Johnson & Johnsons's BabyCenter where he helped develop their personalization engine. Prior to that, he was the Chief Software Architect at Rearden Commerce and began his career at GE R&D. He is a Sun Certified Enterprise Architect (SCEA) for the Java Platform. Dr. Alag earned his PhD in engineering from UC Berkeley and his dissertation was in the area of probabilistic reasoning and machine learning. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles.

Bibliographic information