DB group

Research: iAd - Information Access Disruptions

Centre for Research-based Innovation (CRI) at Fast Search & Transfer ASA

iAd which is hosted by Fast Search & Transfer has the following partners:

  • Cornell University
  • Dublin City University
  • Norwegian School of Management
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • University of Oslo
  • University of Tromsø
  • Accenture
  • Schibsted

iAd focuses academic research to:

  1. Ceate schema agnostic indexing services fusing structured, unstructured and multimedia content in precision, analytics and scale optimized information access services
  2. Develop scalable and fault-tolerant system architectures including data processing and mining platforms for capturing, cleaning, and extracting knowledge from high-speed data streams
  3. Develop and validate in real environments next generation infrastructure for distributed information access
  4. Develop extreme precision solutions for access to multimedia
  5. Identify disruptive processes either within information access or enabled by information access solutions that can be used as a cluster foundation for Norwegian IT innovation

Schema Agnostic Indexing Services

NTNU will be leading the activities in iAd to create schema agnostic indexing services.


There is strong convergence in approach and principles for information access across databases, XML repositories, text search and multimedia access. Still, different design targets are predicted to enable completely different technologies and use patterns for information access.

iAd objective

Provide next generation schema agnostic indexing services by fusing structured, unstructured and multimedia content in precision, analytics and scale optimized information access services.


Currently, unstructured content accounts for 80% of information inside enterprises. Still, the accumulated market cap of companies focusing on the 20% structured data exceeds companies focusing on unstructured information with more than 10:1. This discrepancy is driving both convergence and specialization in the approach to information access. Both database vendors and search platform vendors try to broaden the content types that can be efficiently handled.

Databases extend their current SQL access to structured data with XQuery access to XML repositories. Native backend implementations combined with common query evaluation frameworks will provide more seamless access to both content and data.

IDI people involved with iAd:

More information can be found at the iAd project website.