Real Estate Web Site™ Names Three Top, Independent Computer Scientists to its Technical Advisory Board

Share Article announces the formation of a Technical Advisory Board to provide independent advice on improving technology and algorithms that support the company's online services.

It’s the kind of challenge we all enjoy, and we hope our insight will help Zillow’s talented engineers reach buyers and sellers of homes with cutting-edge technology and information. today announced the formation of a Technical Advisory Board to provide independent advice on improving the technology and algorithms that support the company’s online services for real estate consumers. Zillow launched its beta site in February 2006, offering consumers free, unbiased information and valuations, or Zestimate™ values, on more than 60 million homes in the U.S.

The first members of Zillow’s TAB are three leading computer scientists – Oren Etzioni, Hank Levy and Hanan Samet – whose combined accomplishments include research and practical developments in data mining, Internet search, distributed operating systems and spatial databases/geographic information systems (GIS). Advances in all of these areas will play an important role in Zillow’s technology as the company develops additional features and services for its consumers.

“We’re tackling some very difficult technical problems, and we’re very lucky to be able to tap the expertise of some of the brightest minds in computer science today to help us do it,” said David Beitel, the chief technology officer of Zillow. “Working with them, we will ensure we’re planning and building our site and our software in an intelligent way.”

The TAB members will meet with Beitel and his technical staff at Zillow’s offices to discuss current technology trends and developments, and how they might contribute to the site’s development.

“It’s great to be able to put our technical and business world experiences together and provide advice to a company as exciting as Zillow,” Levy said. “It’s the kind of challenge we all enjoy, and we hope our insight will help Zillow’s talented engineers reach buyers and sellers of homes with cutting-edge technology and information.”

About the Board Members:

Oren Etzioni is a professor of computer science at the University of Washington in Seattle, the director of the university's Turing Center, the founder of three startups, and a venture partner at the Madrona Venture Group. He is the author of over 100 technical papers in a wide range of academic conferences. His work has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, SCIENCE, The Economist, Business Week, Newsweek, Time Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Wired, and The New Scientist. His most recent startup, Farecast, utilizes data mining technology to anticipate airfare fluctuations. He was the chief technology officer and a board member of Go2net (acquired by Infospace in 2000), and a founder of Netbot (acquired by Excite in 1997). At Netbot, Etzioni helped to conceive and design the Web's first major comparison-shopping agent. In 1995, Etzioni and his student Erik Selberg developed MetaCrawler, the web's premier Meta-search engine. He also is a co-founder of Clearforest, an Israeli startup that is an international leader in text mining.

Hank Levy is professor and Wissner-Slivka Chair of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Levy's research involves operating systems, computer architecture, distributed computing, and the Web. He is the author of two books and numerous publications, including 11 best paper award winners from top conferences in computer system design and implementation. With his UW colleagues, he invented Simultaneous Multithreading, which is used in several modern CPUs. Before joining the university in 1983, Hank spent 10 years at Digital Equipment Corporation, where he worked on operating systems, workstations, and early clustered computer products. Hank was also co-founder of Performant, Inc., which was acquired by Mercury in 2003. He is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the IEEE, and recipient of a Fulbright Research Scholar Award.

Hanan Samet is a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Computer Vision Laboratory where he leads research projects on image databases and on the use of hierarchical data structures for geographic information systems (GIS), spatial databases, computer graphics, and image processing. His research group has developed: the QUILT system, which is a GIS based on hierarchical spatial data structures such as quadtrees and octrees; the SAND system, which integrates spatial and non-spatial data; the VASCO set of JAVA applets, which demonstrate a wide range of spatial data structures and operations; and a symbolic image database system. Samet received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University. He is the author of the text "Foundations of Multidimensional and Metric Data Structures," published by Morgan Kaufmann, and the first two books on spatial data structures, "The Design and Analysis of Spatial Data Structures" and "Applications of Spatial Data Structures: Computer Graphics, Image Processing and GIS" both published by Addison-Wesley. He is an area editor of "Graphical Models" and serves on the editorial boards of "Image Understanding", "Journal of Visual Languages", "Pattern Recognition", "GeoInformatica", and "Journal of Spatial Cognition and Computation". He is a Fellow of the ACM, IEEE, and the International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR).

For more information on Zillow, or to find a Zestimate valuation on a home, visit Read about or comment on updated Zillow news and observations in the Zillow corporate blog at

About launched its beta service in February 2006, with the goal of empowering consumers with tools and information to transform how they buy and sell homes. The first step is providing valuations and data on more than 60 million U.S. homes – and growing. Zillow was started by a group of Internet veterans, including Expedia founder and former CEO Rich Barton and former Expedia Senior Vice President Lloyd Frink. Located in Seattle, Zillow raised $32 million in funding from two leading venture capital firms, Benchmark Capital and Technology Crossover Venture (TCV), as well as employees, directors and private investors.™ and Zestimate™ are trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

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