Jobs: Three PhD student positions

Position: Distributed Information Retrieval

The Database Group of the University of Twente offers a job opening in the NWO Vidi Project “Distributed Information Retrieval by means of Keyword Auctions”. The project's aim is to distribute internet search functionality in such a way that communities of users and/or federations of small search systems provide search services in a collaborative way. Instead of getting all data to a centralized point and process queries centrally, as is done by today's search systems, the project will distribute queries over many small autonomous search systems and process them locally. In this project, the PhD student will research a new approach to distribute search: distributed information retrieval by means of keyword auctions. Keyword auctions like Google's AdWords give advertisers the opportunity to provide targeted advertisements by bidding on specific keywords. Analogous to these keyword auctions, local search systems will bid for keywords at a central broker. They “pay” by serving queries for the broker. The broker will send queries to those local search systems that optimize the overall effectiveness of the system, i.e., local search systems that are willing to serve many queries, but also are able to provide high quality results. The PhD student will work within a small team of researchers that approaches the problem from three different angles: 1) modeling the local search system, including models for automatic bidding and multi-word keywords, 2) modeling the search broker's optimization using the bids, the quality of the answers, and click-through rates, and 3) integration of structured data typically available behind web forms of local search systems with text search.

See official announcement. (Deadline: 19 April 2009)

Two positions: PuppyIR, Information Retrieval for Children

The Groups Human Media Interaction and Databases of the University of Twente offer two job openings in the European Project PuppyIR. Current Information Retrieval (IR) systems are designed for adults: they return information that is unsuitable for children, present information in lists that children find difficult to manage and make it difficult for children to ask for information. PuppyIR will create information search services that are tailored to the specific needs of children, giving children the opportunity to fully and safely exploit the power of the Internet. PuppyIR will develop new interaction paradigms to allow children to easily express their information need, to have results presented in an intuitive way and to engage children in system interaction. It will develop a set of Information Services: components to summarise textual and audiovisual content for children, to help children safely explore new information, to moderate information for children at different ages, to build new social networks and to intelligently aggregate and present information to children. PuppyIR will offer an open source platform that enables system designers to construct useful and usable information retrieval systems for children. The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of the PuppyIR modules through demonstrator systems constructed in collaboration with the Netherlands Public Library Association and the Emma Children's Hospital. At the university of Twente, a team of six senior researchers and three PhD students will cooperate in PuppyIR. One PhD student will work on user interaction design. The other two positions are described below.

Position 1: Analyzing and structuring textual information (at Human Media Interaction) Analyzing and structuring textual information studies how natural language processing tools can assist the organization of information in a way that enables children to easily access the information. The PhD student at Human Media Interaction will focus on information extraction, text classification, and story understanding and summarization on written and spoken data, for instance for questions or comments created by children (e.g., chats, blogs) and content created explicitly for children (e.g., stories).

Position 2: Multimedia content mining (at Databases) Multimedia content mining will develop database search technology that enables better understanding of the individual behavior of the child and consequently his/her information need. The PhD student at Databases will focus on concept retrieval, faceted search, query formulation assistance, and intuitive relevance feedback mechanisms that allow children to easily access the content of multimedia data sources, for instance for content sharing within online groups including moderated discovery.

See official announcement. (Deadline: 15 April 2009)