Inktomi Corporation Formed - 05/1996
BERKELEY, CA -- May 20, 1996 -- A group of prominent UC Berkeley scientists and academics today announced the formation of Inktomi Corporation, a company formed to introduce supercomputing power to commercial Internet applications. Inktomi will apply its parallel-processing technology to introduce the industry's first high-performance, scalable engines that will enable fast, reliable access to the complete and most current contents of the World Wide Web. Inktomi's first products are scalable in size to match the Internet's rapid growth, and the only engines capable of indexing every word on the World Wide Web.
"Our engines are the only ones that can scale with the exponential growth of the Internet, so Inktomi will always be able to offer the whole Web -- not just a subset of information we personally deem appropriate -- to millions of users." said Dr. Eric Brewer, Inktomi's chief technology officer and co-founder. "By bringing supercomputing to the Internet, we're able to offer users the most relevant, timely and complete information, without sacrificing speed and without costly hardware."
Inktomi will pursue strategic partnerships with other industry leaders to bring its products to mainstream markets and to achieve brand recognition. The first such product, HotBot, co-developed with HotWired Ventures LLC (a subsidiary of Wired Ventures), was also announced today. (See related news release: "HotWired Introduces HotBot, Powered by Inktomi")
Unparalleled Parallel Processing
Inktomi's core parallel processing technology was developed by founders Eric Brewer and Paul Gauthier at the University of California, Berkeley. Inktomi combines groups of commodity desktop computers into a "network of workstations" with supercomputing capabilities. This power is harnessed to gather, index and sift through the massive and growing amount of content available on the Internet, including the World Wide Web, Usenet news, and other sources such as popular email mailing lists.
Inktomi's Web "crawler" retrieves the full text of millions of documents per day and uses sophisticated processing techniques to capture clues about the content of the site. For example, Inktomi's crawler recognizes different multimedia file types such as Shockwave, Java and RealAudio and allows users to search for the documents containing these files. Inktomi indexes the full text of every page and records the position of every word to allow more detailed searching and document relevance scoring.
"Inktomi's unique scalable architecture provides high performance and adaptability to meet the challenge of indexing the Internet as it grows, while supporting the rising number of users," said Paul Gauthier, co-founder and vice president of research and development. "And, if we need to double our database size or accommodate more users, we can scale linearly by simply adding more workstations to the network."
Reliability and Cost-effectiveness
Because of Inktomi's revolutionary parallel architecture, its advanced Internet engines enjoy superb reliability and fault-tolerance. Even if one or several nodes crash, the remaining nodes cover the workload until the others can be restarted. By building on mass-produced components, the system achieves a superior price-performance ratio compared to competitive technologies that are forced to add expensive hardware to address the issue.
Inktomi's technology can also be applied to countless networking situations for public and private Internets around the world.
In contrast to traditional media, the point-to-point nature of the World Wide Web makes it a perfect medium for the intelligent delivery of personalized content. Whereas broadcast media such as television project a single message to the entire audience, the Web medium can be used to automate the delivery of customized content. Inktomi's Audience1 technology, which has been built into the search engine, enables advertising that "markets to an audience of one." Users see ads that are more relevant and interesting, and advertisers reach their target audiences much more effectively.
By leveraging the power of Web/database integration, Audience1 also allows users to customize the functionality of the search engine. Using a simple step-by-step process, users can choose among different layouts, store favorite searches, and set default query options.
Pronounced "ink-to-me", the company name is derived from a mythological spider of the Plains Indians known for bringing culture to the people. Inktomi was founded in January 1996 by Eric Brewer, an assistant professor of computer science at UC Berkeley, and Paul Gauthier, a graduate student in the computer science Ph.D. program, with a desire to commercialize the highly-effective technologies developed during their research. Since the realization of their efforts, other prominent scientists from U.C. Berkeley, MIT, and Cal Tech, and alumni from Microsoft, Sybase, Digital Equipment Corporation, Pacific Bell Internet Services and Silicon Graphics have joined the company.