I just got back from the big Yahoo! party at Six Flags. So I am now able to write a brief recap of what took place at this exclusive tour and meeting. About 15 of us were invited by Tim Mayer and Yahoo to tour the campus grounds and meet with several engineers at Yahoo! Search. The campus was very very clean, everything was nicely trimmed and no papers or anything on the very green lawn. We walked by the Yahoo! store, then by the cafeteria, we then walked to the basketball court which had clear glass backboards with Yahoo! in yellow letters imprinted on them. There was also a workout station on our right, when we were looking at the courts. Life looks good at the campus.
We then walked upstairs into the classroom area; I spotted a sign for the MySQL class and I was tempted to walk in. I did not and proceeded to the class Tim Mayer wanted us to go in. Outside the classroom doors, waiting for us, were several Yahoo! engineers. The names and titles of those engineers will be provided by Tim later tomorrow, but these guys were the real deal. There was chinese food, I believe, waiting outside the room as well, which we were asked to help ourselves to. After 10 - 15 minutes of chatting with the engineers and eating food, we were asked to go into the classroom with the engineers. Set up was a projector with the Yahoo Search page. The engineers introduced themselves first (post names here tomorrow) and then we did. After that, Tim announced that they have now increased their index size to "over 20 billion items", that is a lot of indexed documents. Then we all went through some of Yahoo!'s challenges which were addressed and discussed with the Yahoo! engineers. I think we both learned a lot from this roundtable discussion. I can not get into the specifics of that discussion but I can tell you they gave us flash usb drives and Yahoo! t-shirts after we left. From there, the bus took us to the Yahoo! party at Six Flags and then took us back to the hotel. I now need to head over to the Ask Jeeves party.
Update from Tim:
Jan Pedersen, Chief Scientist Search And Marketplace Rajat Mukherjee, Director Product Management, Yahoo Search Technology Chad Walters, Engineer Tim Converse, Engineer And Many others (all engineers). Me too...