Thursday, August 2

IR Courses Updated

I updated my list of recent search (IR) graduate classes.

Recent Graduate Classes in Information Retrieval

I added a new class by Brian Davison he taught this past Spring:

CSE345/445 (Spring 2007) - WWW Search Engines Algorithms, Architectures and Implementations by Brian Davison at Lehigh University. Brian is one of the creators of DiscoWeb, later to become Teoma which was acquired by Ask. He also chairs the AIRWeb (Spam) workshop.

Of particular interest is the guest lecture by Marc Najork from Microsoft research on the effectiveness of link analysis algorithms, Comparing the Effectiveness of Different Scoring Functions for Web Search. Marc also presented the research this past week at SIGIR, HITS on the Web: How does it Compare?. His interesting conclusion is that when combined with the BM25F scoring algorithm a simple inter-domain in-link count is more effective than the default PageRank algorithm and just as effective as the expensive HITS algorithm. It's interesting to see such a simple algorithm prevail here when Google continuously toughts PageRank.

Wednesday, August 1

Conference Season, Digger, and GUESS

It's conference season. Both AAAI 2007 and SIGIR 2007 were last week. However, coverage on blogs (at least that I can find) has been sparse. At least there will be proceedings. Sadly, I wasn't able to attend either this year.

Also, programs for two upcoming conferences have been posted: the ACM Recommender conference (courtesy Paul Lamere) and SIGKDD (courtesy Matthew Hurst).

Speaking of Matthew, he has a great post on visualization software. Good software to visualize graphs is hard to find, and Matthew writes is own custom solutions. However, for beginners he recommends GUESS
created by Eytan Adar, a graduate student at the University of Washington.

One exception to the lack of conference coverage is Matthew Hurst's post on Digger from AAAI. I was accepted as a beta tester, so I'll try to find time to write something up after I play with it more. In the mean time, here is some background

Digger was founded by Timothy Musgrove, formerly a Senior Research Fellow at CNet focusing on AI. Related to Digger, Tim published a paper on semantic query expansion at the Modeling and Retrieval of Context (MRC) Workshop of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in 2005 entitled Representing the context of equivalent query words as a means of preserving search precision, and here is the presentation. In it, he lays out a method of query expansion using WordNet, but with a twist that filters potential synonyms to ones that co-occur with other words in the query when examining the results from an initial retrieval (with a final post-processing step to remove proper names).

It's an interesting piece of work and I look forward to seeing Digger mature.