Welcome to DIR 2009

Welcome to the 9th Dutch-Belgian Information Retrieval Workshop (DIR). I very well remember the DIR workshop in 2001 that was also organized in Twente. It took place exactly one day before my PhD defense, to give us the opportunity to have one of the PhD committee members, Stephen Robertson, as the keynote speaker. I am proud to see that DIR does not need PhD defenses any more to attract excellent keynotes. This year, DIR presents Rene van Erk, Director of Product- and Business Development Europe at Wolters Kluwer as the industry keynote; we present professor Gerhard Weikum, Scientific Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics, as the academic keynote. We also present comedian Daniel van Veen as the “cultural keynote” to let our participants taste a bit of our university's unique campus activities.

We have tried this year to especially encourage PhD students and researchers from industry to submit their research. Each submission was reviewed by at least two and often three or four program committee members. We thank the program committee members for their high quality reviews. Of 15 submissions to DIR, 12 were accepted. Another 5 submissions were accepted as poster presentations. Four papers were written with participation from industry and most other papers have a PhD student as the first author.

Special thanks to the Netherlands Research School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS) for sponsoring the participation of Dutch SIKS members, to the Werkgemeenschap Informatiewetenschap (WGI) for providing a solid financial basis for organizing DIR now and in the future, to the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO) for sponsoring the travel and hotel costs of our international keynote speaker Gerhard Weikum, to the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT) for sponsoring the proceedings, to the University of Twente and to Cultural Center the Vrijhof for sponsoring our cultural activity on Monday.

To an inspiring DIR 2009!

Advanced SIKS-Course: Probabilistic Methods for Entity Resolution and Entity Ranking

On April 20 and 21 2009 the School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS) will organize an advanced course on “Probabilistic Methods for Entity Resolution and Entity Ranking”. The course takes two days, will be given in English and is part of the Advanced Components Stage of the Educational Program for SIKS-PhD Students. Although these courses are primarily intended for SIKS-PhD Students, other participants are not excluded. However, their number of passes will be restricted and depends on the number of students taking the course. The course is given by experienced lecturers actively involved in the research areas related to the topics of the course. Especially PhD-students working on the SIKS-foci “Data management, Storage and Retrieval” and “Web-based Informationr Systems” are strongly encouraged to participate.

LOCATION: Conference Center Woudschoten, Zeist
DATE: 20-21 April 2009
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTORS: Djoerd Hiemstra and Maurice van Keulen

More information at SIKS.

SIKS PhD Career Day

Imagine. After four (or more) years of hard labour you finally got what you wished for. You have been granted a PhD! Congratulations! … Now what!? During your PhD you may have wondered:

– Which career options do I have after my PhD?
Currently, there are around 200 SIKS PhD alumni. Around 40% of the graduated SIKS PhD's now work in academia. Others work in companies on subjects that are either related or unrelated to their PhD subject, whereas some start their own company. What options do you have?

– What does my dream job look like?
How does a day in the life of a university professor differ from one of a consultant or an entrepreneur? Each job requires different skills and offers different challenges. How can you find out which job suits you best?

– How do I get it?
So you have a long list of publications about the meta-heuristic complexity of recursive retrieval of ubiquitous agent mining in Prolog. Who wouldn't want an expert in this? What else do the various jobs want in a PhD and how can you prepare for that? How does a PhD compare with a MSc with four years working experience? How can you plan your career to get that dream job?

The SIKS PhD Career Day aims at helping you answer these questions. Different people – from academia, companies and research institutes – will give their personal and professional perspective on the three central questions. During this intensive, highly interactive course you will not only listen to presentations but you also have the opportunity to talk to (research) institutes and companies in private. This course is intended for SIKS PhD students in every stage of their PhD, but may be especially interesting for those in a later stage. But also SIKS-alumni are cordially invited to participate.

More info at SIKS.

Call for Participation: Dutch-Belgian IR workshop

The 9th Dutch-Belgian Information Retrieval Workshop (DIR) will take place at the University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, on February 2-3, 2009. The workshop is organised under the auspices of the Working Community on Information Sciences (WGI) and the School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS). The workshop is sponsored by NWO, CTIT and the University of Twente.

Keynote Speaker: prof. Gerhard Weikum (MPII, Saarbruecken, Germany) Gerhard Weikum is Research Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics (MPII) in Saarbruecken, Germany, where he is leading the department on databases and information systems. Prof. Weikum is ACM fellow and a renowned expert in the field of Databases. He received the VLDB 10-Year Achievement Award in 2002. Since then, he focused on several information retrieval problems such as peer-to-peer search, search efficiency, and database and search integration, resulting in for instance 6 full papers at the last SIGIR conferences.

Due to the cooperation between SIKS, SIKS-members can participate without paying entrance fee. Especially PhD-students working on the SIKS-focus “Web based Information Systems” and “Data management, Storage and Retrieval” are strongly encouraged to participate. There is a limited number of registrations for SIKS members. Registrations will be honored in a first come-first serve manner.

Participants of DIR are invited to the Annual Meeting of the Werkgemeenschap Informatieschap which is directly following DIR on Tuesday.

Reind van de Riet passed away

Prof. Reind van de Rietby Roel Wieringa

Yesterday evening Prof. Reind van de Riet, former chair and co-founder of SIKS passed away unexpectedly, at the age of 69. Reind has contributed to the growth and identity of SIKS in an important way and initiated a considerable number of the senior researchers of SIKS in the world of science. Some of us will remember him as an intellectual father. We will miss his unique presence at SIKS-related conferences.

Dutch-Belgian Database Day 2008

The Dutch Belgian Database Day (DBDBD) is a yearly one-day workshop organized in a Belgian or Dutch university, whose general topic is database research. DBDBD invites submissions (1 page abstract) on a broad range of database and database-related topics, including but not limited to data storage and management, theoretical database issues, database performance, data mining, information retrieval, data semantics, querying, ontologies etc. Based on the submissions, the workshop will be organized in different sessions each covering a particular topic.

At the DBDBD, junior researchers from the Netherlands and Belgium can present their recent results. It is an excellent opportunity to meet up with your Belgian/Dutch colleagues, and to get informed about the (recent) database-related research performed in Belgian/Dutch universities. The workshop is also open to non-Belgian/Dutch participants (presentations are in English).

The DBDBD 2008 is organized under auspices of SIKS, the Dutch research school for information and knowledge systems and the Belgian Graduate School in Computing Science (GRASCOMP). This year, DBDBD will be held at the Arsenal, located at the heart of the charming city of Namur (Belgium), on Friday October 10th, 2008.

DBDB 2008 home page

SIKS-day 2008 in Utrecht

On October 2, 2008, the School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS) organizes its annual SIKS-day. The location will be City Castle Oudaen in Utrecht.

The main aim of the event is to give SIKS-members, participating in research groups all over the country, the opportunity to meet each other in an informal setting and to inform them about current developments and some new activities and plans for the coming year. This year a small scientific symposium will be organized at the SIKS-day as well. Four invited speakers have agreed to perform:

  • Wil van der Aalst (TUE), “Creating Better Information Systems with Process Mining”
  • Rafael Bordini (Durham, UK), “The State of Multi-Agent Programming”
  • Tom Heskes (RUN), “Bayesian machine learning: theory and applications”
  • Maarten de Rijke (UVA), “Retrieving Entities”

By inviting these researchers we hope to have selected the right ingredients for a memorable day. All members of our research school(research fellows, associated members and Ph.D.-students) as well as the members of SIKS' Advisory Board and our alumni are invited to participate.

More info

Dutch-Belgian IR workshop in Twente

Vrijhof with famous sunken tower We organize the 9th Dutch-Belgian Information Retrieval Workshop (DIR) in Twente. The event will take place on February 2-3, 2009 in our lovely “Vrijhof” building. The primary aim of Dutch-Belgian Information Retrieval (DIR) workshop is to provide an international meeting place where researchers from the domain of information retrieval and related disciplines, can exchange information and present innovative research developments. The first call for papers is just out. Papers may range from theoretical work to system descriptions. We encourage Ph.D. students to submit their research. We also welcome contributions from industry when they focus on novel research directions. Have a look at the DIR website at: http://dir2009.cs.utwente.nl

Seminar on Searching and Ranking

Nelly Litvak and I organize a small but really interesting seminar before the PhD defense of Henning Rode on 27 June 2008: The first SIKS/Yahoo Seminar on Searching and Ranking in Structured Text Repositories. The goal of the one day seminar is to bring together researchers from companies and academia working in the area of computer science and applied mathematics on ranking and searching in highly dynamic, structured text environments. Keynote speakers are:

  • Ricardo Baeza-Yates (Yahoo! Research, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Debora Donato (Yahoo! Research, Barcelona, Spain)

The seminar is sponsored by: WGI, CTIT, NWO, SIKS, and Yahoo. Please send your name and affiliation to ssr (at) lists.utwente.nl if you plan to participate in the seminar.

SIKS focus area: Data management, storage and retrieval

The Dutch Research School for Information and Knowledge Systems (SIKS) organizes its research in 7 so-called research foci. The scope of the SIKS research focus Data Management, Storage and Retrieval is the theory and the application of computers to the management of information, including the aspects of data acquisition, organization, storage, querying and retrieval, security and privacy, ranging from highly structured databases to unstructured natural language texts.

The research focus Data Management, Storage and Retrieval is shaped by two major success stories in Computer Science: 1) the development of relational database systems in the 1970’s and 1980’s mainly influenced by office automation and enterprise information systems, and 2) the development of large scale information retrieval systems at the end of the 1990’s, influenced by the development of the world wide web. The storage and retrieval component of today’s information system is formed by database management systems (DBMSs), which abstract the peculiarities of storage media and processing components into a data model, integrity rules, and query facilities. Although strong relational DBMSs have become a commodity product for administrative information system applications, they have been proven inadequate for storing and searching semi-structured data such as web data. The storage and retrieval component of today’s web search engines is formed by information retrieval (IR) systems, that provide effective ranking strategies, efficient indexes, and data compression. They focus on user satisfaction rather than on integrity of the data. Research themes that SIKS PhD students address are:

  • Integration of Text, Data, and Streams: Create ways to integrate data retrieval and information retrieval, for instance for XML databases and XML streams
  • Multimedia Retrieval: Create easy ways to analyze, summarize, search, and view multimedia information such as video databases.
  • Sensor Data and Sensor Networks: Create ways to manage and query networks of very large numbers of low-cost devices.
  • Reasoning about uncertain data: Create ways to analyze, query and reason over imprecise and uncertain data (Related to SIKS focus Knowledge representation & reasoning)
  • Contextual Retrieval and User Interaction: Use knowledge about the user’s context to provide more effective results (related to SIKS focus Human computer interaction).
  • Learning Ranking Algorithms: Create new models of information retrieval and machine learning of complex ranking functions (related to SIKS focus Computational intelligence)
  • Enterprise search and Data Spaces: Integrate enterprise information to support business processes, for example expertise finding (related to SIKS focus Enterprise information systems)
  • Distributed and peer-to-peer data management: Create ways to distribute data over many loosely coupled autonomous systems (related to SIKS focus Agent technology and Web-based information systems)