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Information Retrieval Seminar: In Search of Ubiquitous Information Seeking Support Systems

11 Mar
Wednesday, 03/11/2020 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Computer Science Building, Room 150/151
Speaker: Shane Culpepper

Abstract: Exciting research advances in Information Retrieval and several closely related research communities are enabling us to reimagine how humans interact with digital information in an effortless and ubiquitous manner. Mobile and IoT devices now provide continuous access to digital information more than ever before, and remarkable advances in natural language processing and machine learning provide us with powerful new techniques to transform enormous collections of unstructured data into answers which satisfy user information needs. In this talk, we will discuss the growing complexity of supporting web-scale search tasks, such as web search, recommendation systems, and virtual assistants, which must combine efficient candidate generation stages with one or more ML-based processing / re-ranking stages in order to generate high-quality results. We will discuss recent work in my group on how to scale increasingly sophisticated machine learning models to web-scale data collections by carefully combining efficient algorithm design and ML in multiple stages of a retrieval pipeline. Then, we will discuss other related work in my group on the fundamental importance of aligning a query representing a user's information need with the collections being queried, and show how this is an important first step in building ubiquitous information seeking support systems. Finally, we will discuss future directions of this work and possible collaboration opportunities.

Bio:  Shane Culpepper is a Vice-Chancellor's Principal Research Fellow and Director of the Centre for Information Discovery and Data Analytics at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.  His research focuses on developing new approaches to effectively and efficiently search web-scale data collections, and understanding how to measure search result quality.  Research interests include efficient and scalable algorithm design, machine learning in information retrieval, and user-informed system evaluation.  Shane received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Melbourne in 2008. He has more than 100 peer reviewed publications, was a General Co-Chair for WSDM 2019, SWIRL 2018, ADCS 2015, and ADCS 2014, and served as Program Chair for several other closely related ACM conferences in IR over the last five years. He is currently an associate/area editor for the ACM Transactions on Information Systems, Springer's Information Retrieval Journal, and Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval, and a Senior PC member for SIGIR, WSDM, WebConf, and CIKM. For more information about his research, group, or administrative roles, visit his personal website at https://www.culpepper.io or the RMIT Research Centre website at https://www.rmit.edu.au/cidda.

A reception for attendees will be held at 3:30 p.m. in CS 150.

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