Information Access Seminar

Public Search Interfaces to Plant Collection and Nuclear Forensics Search

Friday, April 5, 2013
3:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Tim Stutt & Fred Gey

Public Search Interfaces to Plant Collections
Tim Stutt

This is a short progress report on my master’s project on Search Interfaces for Plant Collections. I will present results from a round of usability testing as well as a low fidelity prototype that includes maps and images in the search experience. I welcome feedback on this project by email at

Nuclear Forensics Search
Fred Gey

Nuclear forensics search is an emerging sub-field of scientific search. Nuclear forensics plays an important technical role in international security. Nuclear forensic search is grounded in the science of nuclear isotope decay and the rigor of nuclear engineering. However, two elements are far from determined: firstly, what matching formulae should be used to match between unknown (e.g. smuggled) nuclear samples and libraries of analyzed nuclear samples of known origin? Secondly, what is the appropriate evaluation measure to be applied to assess the effectiveness of search? Using a database of spent nuclear fuel samples we formulated a search experiment to try to identify the particular nuclear reactor from which an unknown sample might have came. This talk describes the experiment and also compares alternative evaluation metrics (precision at 1, 5, and 10 and mean reciprocal rank) used to judge search success. Recent directions of the project have been in visualization of nuclear decay chain dynamics.

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Tim Stutt is a second-year master’s student in the School of Information’s MIMS degree program.

Fred Gey, Ph.D., is an information scientist at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at UC Berkeley. He was previously a visiting researcher at the National Institute of Informatics, Tokyo, Japan.

Last updated:

March 26, 2015