Building a Better Speller

A few months ago, Bing and Microsoft Research (MSR) enlisted the help of researchers and students from around the world to take part in the Speller Challenge. The challenge aimed to tackle a familiar problem facing search engines- results based on a common misspelling or typo:


This technique, called Spelling alteration, is the predominant way for search engines to translate typing errors, alternative spellings, and synonyms with the goal of providing the best results to you on the first try.

However, this approach is not perfect. My spelling error could be your perfect query (and vice versa.) The Speller Challenge was designed to find a better way to determine which results a search engine should provide and how alternatives should be represented.

Today, we hosted a workshop at Bing HQ where Harry Shum, Corporate Vice President of Bing presented the winners with their awards. Congratulations to everyone who took part in the program.

  • First place : Gord Lueck – Canada
  • Second place : Yanen Li, Huizhong Duan, ChengXiang Zhai – USA
  • Third place : Yasser Ganjisaffar, Andrea Zilio, Sara Javanmardi, Inci Cetindil, Manik Sikka, Sandeep P. Katumalla, Narges Khatib, Chen Li – USA
  • Fourth place : Dan Ştefănescu, Radu Ion, Tiberiu Boroş – Romania
  • Fifth place : Yoh Okuno – Japan

Check out the following video where Harry Shum discusses the significance of the
challenge and first place winner Gord Lueck outlines what inspired him to tackle
the problem

– The Bing Team