Complexity Engine: UAH Professors Develop New Academic Search Engine

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) --  Two UAH professors are making a name for themselves in the education world. Alabama Launchpad is giving $35,000 to the two men after they developed what they call, "Complexity Engine."  It's a search engine specifically designed to increase students' thirst for knowledge.

Morton Hall holds more than just textbooks these days. It also houses the offices of Dr. Philip Kovacs and Dr. Ryan Weber, the developers behind what some might call "the next big thing" in education.

"So what we wanted to do was be able to provide students, teachers, and school districts with online free content in a manner that packages it so that it can be easily accessible," said Kovacs.

The search engine, like any other, uses a sophisticated algorithm that scans websites for content, but this one is different. The results are customized for the classroom. Teachers can set limits for the search results based on the student's reading level.

"We are going to launch the product in about 90 days based on the money we got from the Alabama Launchpad with an upgraded design, stronger analytic data that can tell teachers what level they're reading at based on the things they are searching," said Weber.

It's a piece of software that essentially turns the internet into a textbook that's enjoyable to read, and all of those reading materials are age-appropriate for its users.

"What our search engine does is it selects from websites, a huge database of website that are reputable things like National Geographic or Smithsonian," said Weber. "So it's really impossible for a student to access something inappropriate."

So, how do you get it? They're still trying to figure that out too.

"We're in negotiations with school districts, the Utopian part of me wants to give it away for free," said Kovacs. "The realistic part of me wants to make a little money off of it but the cost save for schools is going to be enormous."

Although they haven't figured out the price point yet, Kovacs and Weber promise the program will be affordable for schools. It will also be available for parents to purchase for at-home use.