34th SIGIR Conference

The 34th ACM-SIGIR Conference (July 24-28, Beijing, China) features many presentations of interest to those interested in information retrieval.  A long list of accepted papers is now available on the conference website.  There will be two keynote addresses:

Qi Lu

Dr. Qi Lu, president of Microsoft’s Online Services Division (OSD) and leader of its search and online advertising efforts will speak on “The Future of the Web and Search”.  According to the abstract of his talk, “I will share some of my thoughts about where the Web is heading and how search will be transformed to align to this new Web, laying out some specifics behind Microsoft’s vision to empower people with knowledge.”







Dr. ChengXiang Zhai, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will keynote the second day of the conference.  The title of his talk is “Beyond Search: Statistical Topic Models for Text Analysis”.  Here is an extract from the abstract of his talk:

“Search is generally a means to the end of finishing a task. While the current search engines are useful to users for finding relevant information, they offer little help to users for further digesting and analyzing the overwhelming found information needed for finishing a complex task. In this talk, I will discuss how statistical topic models can be used to help users analyze and digest the found relevant information and turn search results into actionable knowledge needed to complete a task. I will present several general statistical topic models for extracting and analyzing topics and their patterns in text, and show sample applications of such models in tasks such as opinion integration, comparative summarization, contextual topic trend analysis, and event impact analysis.”

In addition, Elsevier is sponsoring a challenge, open to all conference participants, to create applications for its SciVerse platform.  Winners will receive Visa gift cards:  first prize, $1500; second prize, $1000; and third prize $500.

Besides the conference papers and the Elsevier challenge, there are a number of workshops scheduled on such topics as social web search, crowdsourcing, and single-query searching.  A list of all the workshops is available on the conference website.

The SIG-IR conferences are major events on the information industry’s conference calendar, and the 2011 event promises to be no exception.  If you’re planning to be in Beijing this summer, I highly recommend it!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

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