Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Disk quota

I have at least 800 pieces of disk media (CDs and DVDs) at home. (Until recently I had well over 1000.) But the Chinese customs procedure document says foreign passport holders can only import up to 200.

Two hundred!? Got to start boiling down my CD collection again.

Got to count my books too - only 400 books are allowed.

Sold my house and sold my car -
don't know how I've come this far.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AIRS 2009 Final CFP

The Fifth Asia Information Retrieval Symposium (AIRS 2009)
October 21-23, 2009 at Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.
In cooperation with ACM SIGIR

The Asia Information Retrieval Symposium (AIRS) aims to bringtogether researchers and developers to exchange new ideas and latest achievements in the field of information retrieval (IR). The scope ofthe symposium covers applications, systems, technologies and theoryaspects of information retrieval in text, audio, image, video andmultimedia data. The Fifth AIRS (AIRS 2009) welcomes submissions of original papers in the broad field of information retrieval.Technical issues covered include, but are not limited to:
IR Theory and Formal Models;IR Evaluation, Test collections, Evaluation methods and metrics,Experimental design, Data collection and analysis;Interactive IR, User interfaces and visualization, User studies,User models, Task-based IR, User/Task-based IR theory;Web IR, Intranet/enterprise search, Citation and link analysis, Adversarial IR;Distributed IR, Fusion/Combination, Digital libraries;Cross-language retrieval, Multilingual retrieval, Machinetranslation for IR;Video and image retrieval, Audio and speech retrieval,Music retrieval;Topic detection and tracking, Routing, Content-based filtering,Collaborative filtering, Agents, Spam filtering;Question answering, Information extraction, Summarization, Lexical acquisition, NLP for IR;Text Data Mining and Machine Learning for IR.
Accepted papers will be published as part of the LNCS series from Springer, and will be EI-indexed. The AIRS 2009 organisers are also planning on a post-conference special issue in a renowned international journal, and the authors of the best papers at AIRS2009 will be encouraged to contribute to this issue.


April 19, 2009 Submissions due
June 1, 2009 Notification of acceptance
June 16, 2009 Camera-ready due
September 1, 2009 Registration deadline
October 21-23 2009 AIRS 2009


The AIRS 2009 proceedings will be published as LNCS,so please follow the default author instructions available at
In addition, please "anonymise" your paper to facilitate blindreviewing, and make sure your paper is no longer than 12 pages inthe LNCS format. Submissions that do not follow these guidelineswill be rejected unconditionally. Duplicate submissions (the samepaper being submitted to AIRS 2009 and to another conferenceat the same time), if detected, will also be rejected. Pleaseupload your paper to the START submission system at
https://www.softconf.com/s08/AIRS2009/by April 19, 2009. The Program Committee will carefully review itand decide whether it should be accepted (either as a 12-pagepaper or as a 6-page poster) or not.
Once your paper gets accepted, you will be asked to send us asigned copyright form available at the above Springer website.At least one author per paper must present the work at the conference. For updates, please visit the AIRS 2009 website.


Please visit
http://www-kb.ist.hokudai.ac.jp/AIRS2009/sponsorship.html .


Honorary Conference Chair: Elizabeth Liddy (Syracuse University)
Conference Co-Chairs: Masaharu Yoshioka (Hokkaido University) and Tetsuya Sakai (Microsoft Research Asia)
Publication Co-Chairs: Akiko Aizawa (NII) and Kazuko Kuriyama(Shirayuri College)
Publicity Co-Chairs: Atsushi Fujii (University of Tsukuba),Ian Soboroff (NIST), Dawei Song (Robert Gordon University) andWilliam Webber (University of Melbourne)
Finance Chair: Takuya Kida (Hokkaido University)
Program Committee Co-Chairs: Chin-Yew Lin (Microsoft ResearchAsia), Gary Geunbae Lee (POSTECH) and Dawei Song (Robert GordonUniversity)

Area Chairs:
Information Retrieval Models and Theories
- Tien-Yan Liu (MSRA)
- David Losada (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela)
Interactive Information Retrieval
-Ian Ruthven (University of Strathclyde)
- Andrew Turpin (RMIT)
- Min Zhang (Tsinghua University)
QA, Summarization and IE
- Teruko Mitamura (CMU)
Multimedia Retrieval- Gareth Jones (Dublin City University)

If you have any questions, please contact the conference co-chairs:
ist.hokudai.ac.jp and

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Photos from EVIA 2008 and NTCIR-7

Now available at http://research.nii.ac.jp/ntcir/ntcir-ws7/meeting/ .

SIGIR 2009 online PC meeting in progress

This year, SIGIR is trying a virtual PC "meeting" for the first time.
As a "senior" PC member (area chair), I'm reading loads of reviews and metareviews and online discussions for the yet-to-be-decided papers. This is so very time-consuming, but I like this virtual setting for the following two reasons:
(1) All the discussions are recorded - this should prevent people from making irresponsible remarks;
(2) Even a quiet, modest Japanese person like me can have a say in the "meeting."

38 papers have been accepted so far. Eventually about 85 papers will be accepted.

Okay I'm tired. How about a few more pictures from Beijing?

Friday, March 20, 2009

CFP: SIGIR 2009 Workshop on the Future of IR Evaluation

SIGIR 2009 Workshop on the Future of IR Evaluation
July 23, Boston

Call for Papers

Evaluation is at the core of information retrieval: virtually allprogress owes directly or indirectly to test collections built withinthe so-called Cranfield paradigm. However, in recent years, IRresearchers are routinely pursuing tasks outside the traditional paradigm, by taking a broader view on tasks, users, and context. There is a fast moving evolution in content from traditional static text to diverse forms of dynamic, collaborative, and multilingual information sources. Also industry is embracing "operational" evaluation based on the analysis of endless streams of queries andclicks.
We invite the submission of papers that think outside the box:
- Are you working on an interesting new retrieval task or aspect? Or on its broader task or user context? Or on a complete system with novel interface? Or on interactive/adaptive search? Or ...? Please explain why this is of interest, and what would be an appropriate way of evaluating.
- Do you feel that the current evaluation tools fail to do justice to your research? Is there a crucial aspect missing? Or are you interested in specific, rare, phenomena that have little impact on the average scores? Or ...? Please explain why this is of interest, and what would be an appropriate way of evaluating.
- Do you have concrete ideas how to evaluate such a novel IR task? Or ideas for new types of experimental or operational evaluation? Or new measures or ways of re-using existing data? Or ...? Please explain why this is of interest, and what would be an appropriate way of evaluating.
The workshop brings together all stake-holders ranging from those with novel evaluation needs, such as a PhD candidate pursuing a newIR-related problem, to senior IR evaluation experts. Desired outcomes are insight into how to make IR evaluation more "realistic," and at least one concrete idea for a retrieval track or task (at CLEF, INEX, NTCIR, TREC) that would not have happened otherwise.
Help us shape the future of IR evaluation!
- Submit a short 2-page poster or position paper explaining your key wishes or key points,
- and take actively part in the discussion at the Workshop.
The deadline is Monday May 18, 2009, further submission details are on

Shlomo Geva, INEX & QUT, Australia
Jaap Kamps, INEX & University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Carol Peters, CLEF & ISTI-CNR, Italy
Tetsuya Sakai, NTCIR & Microsoft Research Asia, China
Andrew Trotman, INEX & University of Otago, New Zealand
Ellen Voorhees, TREC/TAC & NIST, USA

One-week trip to Beijing: smog and people

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kando-san threw a party for me

Many thanks to Kishida-san, Fujii-san, Yoshioka-san, Egusa-san, Takaku-san, Evans-san, Fujita-san and Kando-san.

CFP: FDIA 2009

The 3rd IRSG Symposium: Future Directions in Information Access 2009
(FDIA 2009)
Padua, Italy September 1st, 2009

As part of the European Summer School in Information Retrieval
(ESSIR 2009)
Padua, Italy August, 31st, until September, 4th 2009


The 3rd IRSG Symposium on Future Directions in Information Access (FDIA) will be held in conjunction with the European Summer School in Information Retrieval in 2009. The symposium aims to provide a forum for participants of the summer school to share their research and interaction with senior researchers in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. The previous symposiums were held in London in 2008, and Glasgow in 2007 (with ESSIR 2007) and have provided a fun, entertaining and exciting forum for sharing and forming tentative ideas and work.
Why future directions, because we want to encourage submission that focus on the early research such as pilot studies, presenting challenges and future opportunities, conceptual and theoretical work, and the contributions from doctoral work.
Why Information Access, because it captures the broader ideas of information retrieval, storage and management to include interaction and usage.


The FDIA Symposium is mainly tuned to PhD students, researchers new to the field, and post doctoral researchers. The objectives are:
* To provide an accessible forum for new researchers to discuss their research and projects.
* To help foster formative and tentative research ideas.
* To encourage discussion and successful progression.
* To share outcomes of doctoral work.


This symposium calls for research papers to be submitted on topics about Information Access. We especially encourage submissions on late breaking and formative research which presents initial work that survey and present future challenges and opportunities, present pilot studies, explore conceptual and/or theoretical models.
Submission focusing on new directions and emerging work in Information Access/Retrieval which create discussion and provoke reaction are strongly encouraged. Submissions should provide the necessary background and motivation of the topic, so as to maximize the benefit to the author and fellow participants.
A paper should aim to include the following:
* Motivation for the research
* Background and related work (with key references)
* Particular issues highlighted for discussion and main research questions/challenges
A paper may also wish to include:
* Description of proposed or performed research
* Outline of Conceptual/Theoretical Models
* Research methodology and experiment
Areas of research include, but are not limited to:
* Databases
* Information Retrieval
* Human Computer Interaction
* Multimedia and Multimodal
* Knowledge Management
* Bio, Chemo, Med, Eco, etc. Informatics

All papers will be peer reviewed by at least one senior researchers on the Programme Committee. Papers should be around 4-6 pages in length in eWics Format using the Word or Latex templates. Submission should be converted to PDF. Longer papers are okay up to 8 pages in length.
All submissions must be from a solo author: the idea is to encourage and promote one's own research.
The Proceedings will be published online as part of the Ewics series.


Papers submission: April 30th, 2009
Notification of acceptance: June 5th, 2009
Camera-ready papers: June 25th, 2009
Symposium: During ESSIR 2009, September 1st, 2009


Leif Azzopardi, University of Glasgow
Massimo Melucci, University of Padua
Ricardo Baeza Yates, Yahoo! Research


Maristella Agosti, University of Padua
Mark Baillie, University of Strathclyde
Alex Bailey, Google
Juan Manuel, Fernandez Universidad de Granada
Norbert Fuhr, Universitat Duisburg Essen
Gareth Jones, Dublin City University
Jaap Kamps, University of Amsterdam
Udo Kruschwitz, Univesity of Essex
Mounia Lalmas, University of Glasgow
Monica Landoni, University of Strathclyde
David Losada, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
Andy MacFarlane, City University
Massimo Melucci, University of Padua
Micheal Oakes, University of Sunderland
Maarten de Rijke, University of Amsterdam
Ian Ruthven, University of Strathclyde
Milad Shokouki, Microsoft Research, UK
Paul Thomas, CSIRO, Australia
Jun Wang, University College London

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Share of Searches in Japan (Jan 2009) by comScore


Share of Searches (Jan 2009):
1. Yahoo! sites 51.3%
2. Google sites (including YouTube.com) 38.2%
3. Rakuten Inc 2.2%
4. Microsoft sites 1.7%

The Future of IR Evaluation

Our SIGIR 2009 workshop will simply be called The Future of IR Evaluation. But we're not going to call it FIRE - FIRE means something else.

Watch out for updates on this workshop:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SIGIR 2009 Workshop on IR Evaluation

Shlomo Geva, Jaap Kamps, Andrew Trotman, Carol Peters, Ellen Voorhees and I will be organising this post-conference workshop at SIGIR 2009. Shlomo, Jaap and Andrew represent INEX; Carol represents CLEF; Ellen represents TREC and TAC; and I represent NTCIR (to sit as a kagemusha for Noriko Kando).

We are now discussing what to call the workshop. I've suggested
> - Paradigm Shifts in Information Retrieval Evaluation
> - Evaluating Novel and Real Information Retrieval Tasks
but probably someone will come up with a better name with a nice acronym.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sex Appeal?

Today's quote:

But in a world where perception mattered, Microsoft was viewed by many technologists as the Soviet Union of software, a lumbering giant unable to keep up in the fast-paced digital millenium. It lacked sex appeal.

Vise, D.A. and Malseed, M.: The Google Story (Updated Edition for Google's 10th Birthday)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Professor Hirasawa's retirement@Waseda

He was such a great researcher/mentor/drinker.
And he still is!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Reviews, Metareviews, Medical exams

- Reviewed 4 papers for ACL-IJCNLP 2009.
- Reviewed 4 posters for SIGIR 2009.
- Metareviewed 15 papers for SIGIR 2009; 2 more still in discussion.

A medical exam is required for my Chinese visa application. But several Japanese hospitals have refused to do it for me because the medical check form is in English. All that's required of them is to write "normal", "normal male" etc. but they are not up to it. Such is life in Japan.