Friday, July 24

SIGIR 2009 Day 2 Summary

Here are some of my highlights from the day.

I didn't get a chance to go to the Retrieval models II session, but I heard there was some interesting work there on better modeling of term proximity. I hope to go back through those papers quite soon.

I had lunch at the Upper Crust with Jon, Matt, Andy, Elif, and a group from CMU/UMass that braved the rain. Great discussion and delicious thin-crust pizza.

I attended the Interactive Retrieval session.

I liked the Predicting User Interests from Contextual Information paper.
A few comments: 1) It was remarked that the ability to predict interests likely varies significantly across the different ODP categories. It would have been interesting to dig in further here. 2) Is ODP even being mantained anymore? I'm not sure how meaningful its categorizations really are.

I wanted to attend the paper on Effective Query Expansion for Federated Search. It looks interesting; another one to read later.

The last talk was the keynote, From Networks to Human Behavior.

That night was the conference banquet at JFK Library and Museum. The museum was a very fun time. It has a great location right on the water near UMass Boston. The museum and the presentations really gave you a sense of JFK's remarkable speaking ability. Many people remarked on how it was easy to see the comparison to Obama's intelligence and rhetorical skill. The museum ignored or minimized some of the more controversial aspects of his life and presidency, which is unsurprising and disappointing.

At the banquet me and Daniel sat at the 'bloggers table' along with a group from Microsoft's Sharepoint search team and talked at length about some of our blogging experiences, goals, etc... The food and setting were also very enjoyable.

It was Henry's birthday. James embarassed him by having the everyone at the banquet sing happy birthday!

Post Banquet
A group of us ended up at the Bukowski Tavern near the Sheraton. I hung out with Jeremy, Daniel, Victor, Diane, and others until the early hours of the morning. We had some really interesting conversations.

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