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Microsoft Research Announces Virtual Earth Award to Joint Project
by Prof. T.H. Tse and Partners in Australia and China

We are pleased to report that the project entitled "On Testing Non-Testable Information Retrieval Systems with Geographic Components on the Web" has been selected for a Virtual Earth Award by Microsoft Research. It is a joint project by Prof. T.H. Tse with Dr Z.Q. Zhou of University of Wollongong, Australia, Prof. K.-Y. Cai of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China, and Dr F.-C. Kuo of Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.

Suppose you search the Web for hospitals in Seattle that are within 1.5 miles of your hotel. If the system returns no result, how can you be sure that no hospital satisfying your search criteria is listed on the Web? Or is it an erroneous result due to software fault? Software testers of Web search engines with map-related, search-related and route-finding-related geographic components are facing this kind of challenge: The huge amount of data on the Internet prohibits them from verifying the outcomes. Testing by means of mock databases at the developer's site may give false positive results.

This project proposes to apply the metamorphic approach to alleviate the problem. It is one of the ten projects selected for the award by
Microsoft Research from proposals throughout the world, and is the only awarded project from outside of USA and Europe. According to the award email, the competition "was extremely intense as [they] received close to 80 very highly qualified applications".