Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Information Retrieval at Microsoft Research Labs

Recommended: Nick Craswell is speaking on Information Retrieval (Web IR) in Canberra Wednesday (I visited Nick at Microsoft Research Labs Cambridge, on a bicycle tour of Europe):
The Australian National University

Nick Craswell Challenges in Web Information Retrieval (Web IR)
Nick Craswell (Microsoft Research Labs, Cambridge, UK)

DATE: 2007-04-18 TIME: 16:00:00 - 17:00:00 LOCATION: CSIRO Seminar Room S206 (come to reception on Level 2, CS&IT Bldg)

ABSTRACT: When building a Web search engine, we can benefit from core IR techniques, such as probabilistic ranking models and evaluation methods. But we also face problems that are not yet so well-studied in the field of IR. This talk explores several of these. For efficiency reasons, we need to crawl the web selectively. This raises an interesting query-independent ranking problem. We have large-scale logs of user behavior. I will present a novel approach for dealing with sparsity of this data. We may also have relevance judgments for a large number of queries, as in the new TREC "million query" track, which allows for large-scale parameter tuning experiments. Each of these problems lends itself to data-driven solutions. The talk should thus give a favour of the work that goes on in the area of commercial Web IR.

BIO: Nick is a PhD graduate from ANU Computer Science who worked in CSIRO's Enterprise Search group before joining Microsoft Research in Cambridge. Nick is now employed as a researcher in the team behind Microsoft's Live.com search engine. He is a coordinator of the TREC Enterprise Track and the INEX Entities Track. He is also a Senior Reviewer for the ACM SIGIR Conference and is author of many influential and highly cited papers in the Information Retrieval area.

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