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Natasha Noy

Natasha Noy

I am a research scientist at Google Research where I work on making structured data on the Web, in all its different forms, more accessible and useful. Our team has developed Google Dataset Search, which enables users to find datasets stored across the Web.

Prior to joining Google, I worked in the Protege group at Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research. Our team developed an ontology-editing and management platform that is used by hundreds of thousands of users. While at Stanford, I worked in areas of semantic web, ontology development and alignment, and collaborative ontology engineering.

I studied Applied Math in Moscow State University, received my MS in Computer Science from Boston University, and PhD from Northeastern University. For a list of my pre-Google publications, please see my profile on Google Scholar.

Authored Publications
Google Publications
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    Are we cobblers without shoes? Making Computer Science data FAIR
    Carole Goble
    Communications of ACM, vol. 66 (1) (2023)
    Preview abstract n/a (a Viewpoint article) View details
    Dataset or Not? A study on the veracity of semantic markup for dataset pages
    Tarfah Alrashed
    Omar Benjelloun
    20th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2021) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Semantic markup, such as Schema.org, allows providers on the Web to describe content using a shared controlled vocabulary. This markup is invaluable in enabling a broad range of applications, from vertical search engines, to rich snippets in search results, to actions on emails, to many others. In this paper, we focus on semantic markup for datasets, specifically in the context of developing a vertical search engine for datasets on the Web, Google’s Dataset Search. Dataset Search relies on Schema.org to identify pages that describe datasets. While Schema.org was the core enabling technology for this vertical search, we also discovered that we need to address the following problem: pages from 61% of internet hosts that provide Schema.org/Dataset markup do not actually describe datasets. We analyze the veracity of dataset markup for Dataset Search’s Web-scale corpus and categorize pages where this markup is not reliable. We then propose a way to drastically increase the quality of the dataset metadata corpus by developing a deep neural-network classifier that identifies whether or not a page with Schema.org/Dataset markup is a dataset page. Our classifier achieves 96.7% recall at the 95% precision point. This level of precision enables Dataset Search to circumvent the noise in semantic markup and to use the metadata to provide high quality results to users. View details
    Google Dataset Search by the Numbers
    Omar Benjelloun
    Shiyu Chen
    International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC-2020), In-Use Track (to appear)
    Preview abstract Scientists, governments, and companies increasingly publish datasets on the Web. Google's Dataset Search tool extracts dataset metadata---expressed in the schema.org vocabulary---from webpages in order to make datasets discoverable. Since the tool's inception, the number of datasets described in schema.org has grown from about 500K to almost 30M, and has become a valuable snapshot of what data on the Web looks like. This paper analyzes the corpus of dataset metadata we collected. To the best of our knowledge, this corpus is the largest and most diverse of its kind. We discuss such questions as where the datasets originate from, what topics they cover, which form they take, and what people searching for datasets are interested in. We describe our methods for collecting and analyzing this data as well as our observations. We conclude with identifying the gaps and possible future work to help make data more accessible. View details
    Industry-scale Knowledge Graphs: Lessons and Challenges
    Yuqing Gao
    Anshu Jain
    Anant Narayanan
    Alan Patterson
    Jamie Taylor
    Communications of the ACM, vol. 62 (8) (2019), pp. 36-43
    Preview abstract Knowledge graphs are critical to many enterprises today: they provide the structured data and factual knowledge that drives many products and makes them more intelligent and "magical." In this paper, we bring together the experience of building and using knowledge graphs in five diverse companies to compare similarities and differences and to discuss challenges that all knowledge-driven enterprises face today: The Bing knowledge graph at Microsoft and the Google knowledge graph support search and answering questions in search and during conversations. Facebook has the world's largest social graph, and also starts to include information that Facebook users care about, such as information about music, movies, celebrities, and places. The eBay knowledge graph describes the enormous variety of products and their connections. Finally, the Knowledge Graph Framework for IBM’s Watson Discovery Offerings provides an offering that allows others to build their own knowledge graph against a pre-built components. We discuss the diverse requirements of these knowledge graphs and many common challenges in building knowledge graphs at this scale. This article summarizes and expands on the panel discussion that the authors conducted at the International Semantic Web Conference in Asilomar, California in October 2018. View details
    Preview abstract There are thousands of data repositories on the Web, providing access to millions of datasets. National and regional governments,scientific publishers and consortia, commercial data providers, and others publish data for fields ranging from social science to life science to high-energy physics to climate science and more. Access to this data is critical to facilitating reproducibility of research results, enabling scientists to build on others’ work, and providing data journalists easier access to information and its provenance. In this paper, we discuss Google Dataset Search, a dataset-discovery tool that provides search capabilities over potentially all datasets published on the Web. The approach relies on an open ecosystem,where dataset owners and providers publish semantically enhanced metadata on their own sites. We then aggregate, normalize, and reconcile this metadata, providing a search engine that lets users find datasets in the “long tail” of the Web. In this paper, we discuss both social and technical challenges in building this type of tool,and the lessons that we learned from this experience. View details
    Goods: Organizing Google's Datasets
    Alon Halevy
    Christopher Olston
    Neoklis Polyzotis
    Sudip Roy
    Steven Euijong Whang
    SIGMOD (2016)
    Preview abstract Enterprises increasingly rely on structured datasets to run their businesses. These datasets take a variety of forms, such as structured files, databases, spreadsheets, or even services that provide access to the data. The datasets often reside in different storage systems, may vary in their formats, may change every day. In this paper, we present Goods, a project to rethink how we organize structured datasets at scale, in a setting where teams use diverse and often idiosyncratic ways to produce the datasets and where there is no centralized system for storing and querying them. Goods extracts metadata ranging from salient information about each dataset (owners, timestamps, schema) to relationships among datasets, such as similarity and provenance. It then exposes this metadata through services that allow engineers to find datasets within the company, to monitor datasets, to annotate them in order to enable others to use their datasets, and to analyze relationships between them. We discuss the technical challenges that we had to overcome in order to crawl and infer the metadata for billions of datasets, to maintain the consistency of our metadata catalog at scale, and to expose the metadata to users. We believe that many of the lessons that we learned are applicable to building large-scale enterprise-level data management systems in general. View details
    A new look of the Semantic Web
    Abraham Bernstein
    James Hendler
    Communications of the ACM, vol. 59 (9) (2016), pp. 35-37
    Preview abstract [NOTE TO REVIEWERS: As a viewpoint short article, it doesn't actually have an abstract] Understanding semantics of data on the Web and thus enabling meaningful processing of it has been at the core of Semantic Web research for over the past decade and a half. The early promise of enabling software agents on the Web to talk to one another in a meaningful way spawned research in a number of areas and has been adopted by governments, industry, and academia. Yet, the nature of the Semantic Web research today is changing. Semantic Web research today distinguishes itself by embracing the messiness of real-world data and its oftentime contradicting semantics. In this paper, we discuss the new research challenges and directions for Semantic Web research. View details
    Discovering Structure in the Universe of Attribute Names
    Alon Halevy
    Sunita Sarawagi
    Steven Euijong Whang
    Xiao Yu
    Proc. 25th International World Wide Web Conference (2016)
    Preview abstract Recently, search engines have invested significant effort to answering entity--attribute queries from structured data, but have focused mostly on queries for frequent attributes. In parallel, several research efforts have demonstrated that there is a long tail of attributes, often thousands per class of entities, that are of interest to users. Researchers are beginning to leverage these new collections of attributes to expand the ontologies that power search engines and to recognize entity--attribute queries. Because of the sheer number of potential attributes, such tasks require us to impose some structure on this long and heavy tail of attributes. This paper introduces the problem of organizing the attributes by expressing the compositional structure of their names as a rule-based grammar. These rules offer a compact and rich semantic interpretation of multi-word attributes, while generalizing from the observed attributes to new unseen ones. The paper describes an unsupervised learning method to generate such a grammar automatically from a large set of attribute names. Experiments show that our method can discover a precise grammar over 100,000 attributes of {\sc Countries} while providing a 40-fold compaction over the attribute names. Furthermore, our grammar enables us to increase the precision of attributes from 47\% to more than 90\% with only a minimal curation effort. Thus, our approach provides an efficient and scalable way to expand ontologies with attributes of user interest. View details
    Managing Google’s data lake: an overview of the Goods system
    Chris Olston
    Neoklis Polyzotis
    Steven Whang
    Sudip Roy
    IEEE Engineering Bulletin, vol. 39 (3) (2016), pp. 5
    Preview abstract For most large enterprises today, data constitutes their core assets, along with code and infrastructure. Indeed, for most enterprises, the amount of data that they produce internally has exploded. At the same time, in many cases, engineers and data scientists do not use centralized data-management systems and and up creating what became known as a data lake—a collection of datasets that often are not well organized or not organized at all and where one needs to “fish” for the useful datasets. In this paper, we describe our experience building and deploying Goods, a system to manage Google’s internal data lake. Goods crawls Google’s internal infrastructure and builds a catalog of discovered datasets, including structured files, databases, spreadsheets, or even services that provide access to the data. Goods extracts metadata about datasets in a post-hoc way: engineers continue to generate and organize datasets in the same way as they have before, and Goods provides values as without disrupting teams’ practices. The technical challenges that we had to address resulted both from the scale and heterogeneity of Google’s data lake and our decision to extract metadata in a post-hoc manner. We believe that many of the lessons that we learned are applicable to building large-scale enterprise-level data-management systems in general. View details
    Discovering Subsumption Relationships for Web-Based Ontologies
    Steven Euijong Whang
    Alon Halevy
    Proc. 18th International Workshop on the Web and Databases (WebDB) (2015)
    Crowdsourcing and the Semantic Web: A Research Manifesto
    Cristina Sarasua
    Elena Simperl
    Abraham Bernstein
    Jan Marco Leimeister
    Human Computation, vol. 2 (2015)
    Preview abstract Our goal with this research manifesto is to define a roadmap to guide the evolution of the new research field that is emerging at the intersection between crowdsourcing and the Semantic Web. We analyze the confluence of these two disciplines by exploring their relationship. First, we focus on how the application of crowdsourcing techniques can enhance the machine-driven execution of Semantic Web tasks. Second, we look at the ways in which machine-processable semantics can benefit the design and management of crowdsourcing projects. As a result, we are able to describe a list of successful or promising scenarios for both perspectives, identify scientific and technological challenges, and compile a set of recommendations to realize these scenarios effectively. This research manifesto is an outcome of the Dagstuhl Seminar 14282: Crowdsourcing and the Semantic Web. View details
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