UT Arlington computer scientist using deep web mining to make browsing easier

Making mobile accessible

A University of Texas at Arlington researcher is partnering with colleagues at Qatar University and George Washington University to make browsing on a cellphone easier.

Browsing the Internet on a cellphone can be a daunting task if the sites visited are not mobile-friendly. UT Arlington researcher Gautam Das and his collaborators will automatically and seamlessly create a mobile-friendly website where one does not exist.

Qatar University is the lead institution on the $900,000 project. George Washington University researchers also are involved. UT Arlington’s share of the funding from the Qatar National Research Fund is $156,577.

“Website owners won’t have to use their resources to develop a mobile-friendly site, and they won’t have to provide access beyond what is already available to the average user,” said Das, a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. “This will improve the user experience immensely, and also assist small companies and government entities that do not have the human or financial resources to redo their existing sites.”

Using what is known as “deep web mining," the app will act as a third-party system and look at the databases behind websites – using legal access points available to everyone – to see what information is contained in them. From there, it will design a way to make the website mobile-friendly.

For example, an airline website might ask a user to type in an airport code, but the app would tap into the database and automatically create a drop-down menu of available airports instead, saving time and frustration due to incorrect entry of information without the host or the user noticing any difference in service.

“In today’s fast-paced world where information is expected to be immediately available, Dr. Das’ research could have quite a positive impact for businesses and web users,” said Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the College of Engineering. “The cost savings on the host side, and the ease of use on the consumer side could make this work beneficial to all parties.”

The information in this news release is based on conversations with the principal investigators of National Priorities Research Program grant No. 07-794-1-145 from the Qatar National Research Fund, a member of the Qatar Foundation. The accuracy of these statements is solely the responsibility of the investigators.

About UT Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.


-- Written by Jeremy Agor