Information Retrieval Specialist Group
IRSG Supported Events
The British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG) in conjunction with the BCS created an award in 2008 to commemorate the achievements of Karen Spärck Jones.
|Karen was a Professor Emerita of Computers and Information at the University of Cambridge and one of the most remarkable women in computer science. Her contributions to the fields of Information Retrieval (IR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), especially with regard to experimentation, have been outstanding and highly influential. Karen's achievements resulted in her receiving a number of prestigious accolades such as the BCS Lovelace medal for her advancement in Information Systems, and the ACM Salton Award for her significant, sustained and continuing contributions to research in information retrieval.|
The IRSG is grateful to Microsoft Research for their sponsorship of the Karen Spärck-Jones award.
In 2015, the award panel was highly impressed both by the quality and
diversity of the field of candidates: it faced a hard time narrowing down
the nominations to a short list. Even more so, it turned out the panel
experienced a genuine difficulty of deciding between the two candidates
who best matched the award criterion "To have endeavoured to advance our
understanding of IR and/or NLP through experimentation." As a consequence,
and unique to 2015, the panel decided to make two full awards. In
Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department
University of Colorado, USA
The panel recognised Jordan's technically strong and creative work on probabilistic topic models, in particular, how his work has shown that the semantic coherence of these topics can be systematically assessed, how linguistic knowledge such as word senses, syntactic relations and inter-language relationships can be incorporated - and crucially - how user feedback can easily and iteratively be integrated into learned topic models to improve the semantic coherence of the topics. The panel thought that Jordan has shaped our understanding of NLP in new and important ways through experimental machine learning research.
Jordan is going to give a keynote at ECIR 2016 on interactive machine learning for understanding large document collections.
Lecturer, Department of Computer Science
University College London, UK
The panel was impressed by the body of Emine's research on evaluation techniques to better match the realities of modern information systems, in particular her work on missing user judgments, her proposed new metrics that are more robust to missing data and her work on expected browsing utility as a new evaluation metric derived from interaction patterns of real web search sessions. Her recent work focused on devising and evaluating the quality of task based information retrieval systems, retrieval systems that can help the user complete the task that have led them issue a query to a search engine, as opposed to just retrieving a list of documents relevant to the query submitted. The panel recognized that Emine's research has pushed the field of IR forward in these important aspects and that her work has had a high impact on academia and practice.
Emine is going to give a keynote at ECIR 2016 on a task-based perspective to Information Retrieval.
Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research
Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Emory University, Atlanta, USA
In making the BCS/ BCS IRSG Karen Spärck-Jones Award for 2013, the Panel strongly recognizes that Eugene Agichtein has made several important contributions in search and large scale web text data mining with a focus on user interaction data. Eugene's work has included demonstrating how models of human information interactions can be inferred by leveraging computational techniques on what are large-scale but also noisy behaviour records. His work has been very influential - the depth of which across several areas is impressive.
Eugene has focused on understanding and modelling user interaction in web search and collaborative question answering. For example, he has shown that click through and other forms of implicit feedback are useful for improving search results ranking when gathered across large numbers of users. This is one area of contribution where his work is seen as particularly influential. Eugene's work includes mouse movements and prediction of responses to advertising, and has reached out to other domains too. Overall, Eugene Agichtein's work is regarded as that of an excellent experimentalist that recognizes the critical linkages between information theory and experiment.
Eugene gave a keynote speech at ECIR 2014.
University of North Carolina, NC, USA
In making the BCS/ BCS IRSG Karen Spärck-Jones Award for 2012, the Panel strongly recognizes that Diane has made important contributions to: the analysis of information seeking behaviors, and to the development of new experimental methods and systems to support information seeking and analysis.
Diane has made several other important contributions to user modeling using implicit indicators of relevance, the development and analysis of interfaces to elicit richer statements of interest, and new methodologies for designing and evaluating interactive retrieval systems. Her strong user-oriented work views users-as-people with cognitive tasks.
Diane gave a keynote speech at ECIR 2013. The slides of her talk are available for download
Senior Research Scientist and Manager of the NLP & IR Group of Yahoo! Research, California, U.S.
Evgeniy gave a keynote speech at ECIR 2011. The abstract of his talk and his bio is available.
The first recipient of the KSJ award is
Reader (Assoc Prof)
School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh
Mirella's research has focused on various problems in NLP mostly with an emphasis on statistical methods and text generation applications. She has worked on complex problems like: word sense disambiguation, ambiguity resolution, semantic vector space, story generation, and many others.
The abstract of her talk at ECIR 2009 and her bio is available for download.