Detail map of Providence, Rhode Island, United States Overview map of Providence, Rhode Island, United States

A: Providence, Rhode Island, United States

Simpli: A Search Engine Uses Neural Networks for Word Sense Disambiguation


In 1998 cognitive scientist / entrepreneur Jeffrey Stibel, physicist, psychologist, neural scientist James A. Anderson, and others from the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown University created a word sense disambiguator using George A. Miller's WordNet lexical database.

Stibel and others applied this technology in Simpli, "an early search engine that offered disambiguation to search terms. A user could enter in a search term that was ambiguous (e.g., Java) and the search engine would return a list of alternatives (coffee, programming language, island in the South Seas)."

"The technology was rooted in brain science and built by academics to model the way in which the mind stored and utilized language."

"Simpli was sold in 2000 to NetZero. Another company that leveraged the Simpli WordNet technology was purchased by Google and they continue to use the technology for search and advertising under the brand Google AdSense.

"In 2001, there was a buyout of the company and it was merged with another company called Search123. Most of the original members joined the new company. The company was later sold in 2004 to ValueClick, which continues to use the technology and search engine to this day" (Wikipedia article on Simpli, accessed 05-10-2009).

Timeline Themes