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Technical Perspective: Entity Matching with Magellan

By Wang-Chiew Tan

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 63 No. 8, Page 82

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who launched a Spanish expedition that completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth. It is in this spirit that Magellan was used as the name of the end-to-end entity matching system that is developed at the University of Wisconsin.

Entity matching (also known as entity resolution or reference reconciliation or deduplication) is a major task in the larger problem of data integration, a problem that is pervasive in many organizations. Despite being a subject of extensive research for many years, the entity matching problem is surprisingly simple to describe and understand. It is to determine whether two different representations refer to the same real-world entity. For example, whether the two tuples—(J. Doe, UWisc) and (John Doe, Univ. of Wisconsin)—refer to the same person.


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