The 2022 annual memorial lecture for the International Tony Kent Strix Award hosted by the UK electronic information Group (UKeiG) in partnership with the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK (ISKO UK) , the Royal Society of Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group (RSC CICAG) and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG), was held on Thursday February 23rd 2023, hosted by Dion Lindsay
The award is given in recognition of outstanding practical innovation or achievements in the field of information retrieval. This year, in a break from tradition and accounting for the fact that there was no award given in 2021, there were two recipients of the award: Professor Iadh Ounis (Professor of Information Retrieval at the University of Glasgow) and Dr Ryen White (General Manager and Partner Research Director at Microsoft Research), who is also an alumni of the University of Glasgow Information Retrieval Group. The online event was very well attended and regarded as a great success by the organisers.
Professor Ounis’ talk, titled ‘Perspectives on Experimentation and Reproducibility in Information Retrieval: Then and Now’, discussed the challenges of (and the real need for) reproducing experimental findings in the modern neural information retrieval era. The talk provided great insights into the complex information retrieval pipelines and the long dependency chains that exist between artifacts of modern information retrieval systems. Professor Ounis particularly noted the need, in this modern age, for more granular reproduction methods that can fully replicate all of the ingredients that contribute to the core advancements in information retrieval systems. The talk also provided an overview of how the PyTerrier information retrieval platform, developed at the University of Glasgow, can simplify the process of constructing and replicating modern neural retrieval architectures, by simplifying the process of constructing complex IR pipelines and combining modular system components using standard Python operators and expressions.
Dr White’s talk, titled ‘Intelligent Futures in Task Assistance’, provided an overview of Dr White’s contributions to understanding user interactions in search systems and his goal of providing a better experience for search engine users. In particular, Dr White discussed the importance of productivity assistance and task driven information retrieval in today’s modern era of digital assistants. Dr white provided insights into the necessity of systems to be able to decompose complex tasks to automatically identify and prioritise microtasks, and schedule activities through task duration estimation. The talk discussed the main lessons that have been learned from research on task intelligence and provided numerous insights into the potential future directions of artificially intelligent digital assistants.
Both of the talks were packed with many insights and interesting reflections on the developments that have led to today’s intelligent information age, and what is in store for the future. The slides from the talks are available from Professor Ounis’ and Dr White’s websites (links above) and the video recording of the talks will be made available from UKeiG . I highly recommend checking them out. .
[Graham McDonald is a lecturer in Information Retrieval at the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow. His research interests include responsible and fair information retrieval, sensitivity-aware search, and active-leaning strategies in decision support systems for document review tasks]
Editor – The UK e-information Group (UKeiG) has announced that it plans to launch a call for nominations for the 2023 Tony Kent Strix and Jason Farradane Awards at its 29 June Zoom Members’ Afternoon. There will also be a special announcement about a third international award.