4M NOK funding from ToppForsk-UiS

I received 4M NOK external funding (~440K EUR) from the ToppForsk programme to work on the FAETE project (From Answering Engines to Task-completion Engines). ToppForsk is a research programme for outstanding young researchers, put in place by the University of Stavanger in cooperation with Universitetsfondet. The official announcement with more details about the programme and its 2015 winners can be found here (in Norwegian). The project, with a total project budget of 9.7M NOK (over 1M EUR), will allow me to spend 60% of my time on research for the following 4 years and will fund 2 PhD students (announcements will follow in due time).

PhD positions in IR

The University of Stavanger invites applications for up to three doctorate scholarships in Information Technology at the Faculty of Science and Technology, in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, beginning September 1, 2015.

There are 15 projects offered in total, which include two IR projects supervised by me:

#8. Living labs for information retrieval

Living labs is a new evaluation paradigm for information retrieval (IR), where the idea is to perform experiments in situ, with real users doing real tasks using real-world applications. This type of evaluation is standard practice in (large) industrial research labs, but is only now becoming available to academic researchers [1,2]. Despite recent developments, there are still numerous challenges to be overcome, including living labs architecture and design, hosting, maintenance, security, privacy, participant recruiting, and scenarios and tasks for use development. This focus of this project is on developing and employing the living labs evaluation paradigm for IR. The PhD candidate will contribute to the understanding of online evaluation and how to generalize across different use-cases.

[1] http://living-labs.net/
[2] http://www.clef-newsreel.org/

#9. Answering complex queries

Web search engines have become remarkably effective in providing appropriate answers to queries that are issued frequently. However, when it comes to complex information needs, often formulated as natural language questions, responses become much less satisfactory (e.g., “Which European universities have active Nobel laureates?”). Manual effort is often required to collect and synthesize information from multiple sources, a process that may involve a series of filtering, sorting, and aggregation steps. The goal of this project is to investigate how to improve query understanding and answer retrieval for complex queries, using massive volumes of unstructured data in combination with knowledge bases.

Details and application instructions can be found here.
Application deadline: February 24, 2015.

Important: Feel free to contact me directly for more information regarding the projects. However, applications need to be submitted on jobbnorge.no (i.e., don’t send them in email to me). Also, don’t forget to indicate which projects you are applying for, in order of preference.