Karen worked for a time at Bell Laboratories during her academic studies.
They were working with something called Latent Semantic Analysis. It was an early form of online search technology, applied to the dense information in thousands of pages of yellow pages. Telephone companies wanted their customers to have a better, easier, faster experience than they were having thumbing through those thousands of pages.
"Before this kind of technology," Karen says, "you had to know that 'doctors' were listed in the 'physician' section, or 'drugstores' were listed as 'pharmacies.'"
"Latent Semantic Analysis helped us develop ways for computers to learn about words and recognize other words and phrases that mean the same thing," Karen says.