Saturday, June 16, 2012

Search Industry Titans and Academic Researchers Converging This Summer in Portland for Information Retrieval Research Conference

Although search is ubiquitous in this age of broadband Internet and mobile wireless devices, and search engine companies are among the most prominent icons of the Internet, there are still many challenges to overcome and new functionality to be developed for search systems. The field of information retrieval (IR) long predates the mainstreaming of search and developments such as the name of the leading search engine becoming a verb (i.e., “Googling”). This field has studied and evaluated the systems and algorithms that established the foundation for modern systems.

The leading research conference in IR, spanning three and a half decades, is the ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) Conference. The 35th Annual ACM SIGIR Conference will be held this year in Portland, Oregon from August 12-16 at the Portland Downtown Waterfront Marriott. Registration for the conference is now available.

The SIGIR 2012 meeting begins on Sunday, August 12, 2012 with a day of Tutorials, some of which are half-day and two of which are full-day. Also taking place on that day is the Doctoral Consortium, an event that is limited to doctoral students who have been selected to participate. The day finishes up with a Welcome Reception at the conference hotel.

The first day of the regular conference is Monday, August 13. After a breakfast for newcomers to SIGIR, the Opening Ceremony will launch the conference. At this ceremony will be the presentation of the winner of the triennial Gerard Salton Award, who will give a plenary talk. This will be followed by Paper presentations in three simultaneous tracks through the rest of the day. Monday evening will cap off with Posters and Demos, along with a reception.

On Tuesday, August 14, the day will begin with a second Keynote Speaker. This will be followed by Paper presentations in three simultaneous tracks through the rest of the day. Tuesday evening will finish with the Conference Banquet just down the street from the hotel at the Portland World Trade Center.

The final regular day of the conference is Wednesday, August 15. This day will also Paper presentations in three simultaneous tracks through the day. In addition, a separate Industry Track will feature presentations from various researchers and leaders in the commercial sector. This day will also feature the annual SIGIR Business Meeting, with box lunches provided.

The conference will end on Thursday, August 16 with a day of four workshops open to all attendees.

The local host of the meeting is the Oregon Health & Science University Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology. I am honored to serve as the General Conference Chair, as my career in IR applied in the health and biomedical domain spans more than two decades.

Although this event is not one of the massive trade shows one might find about search and related events, this event will bring about 600 researchers from academia and industry, along with students and others, to Portland. Industry sponsors for the event lined up so far include Microsoft Research, Baidu, Google, eBay, IBM Research, Cambridge University Press, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, and Springer. The conference will draw participants from 30-40 countries.

For more information about the conference and to register to attend it, visit the conference Web site at:

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