Web-search experts flock to Dublin for conference
Innovation Profile Decision to hold global event here shows growing recognition of Ireland’s leadership in the field
SIGIR 2013 conference co-chairs, Dr Páraic Sheridan (left) and Dr Gareth Jones
More than 500 web-search and internet-search experts from around the world will gather in Dublin this week for the ACM SIGIR 2013 conference which will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first web search engine. The conference is the premier international forum for the presentation of the latest research results and the demonstration of new systems and techniques in the field of information-retrieval and web search. The decision to hold it in Dublin demonstrates growing international recognition of Ireland’s leadership position in this field.
The conference begins today with sessions in the Mansion House and TCD and continues until Thursday, August 1st. It is being hosted by the Science Foundation Ireland-funded CNGL – the Centre for Global Intelligent Content CNGL consortium which is co-hosted at Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University. The €58 million research centre focuses on on adapting digital content to the needs and preferences of global users, including the delivery of personalised information-retrieval across a range of platforms, media types and languages.
The centre is engaged in tackling the challenges presented by the explosion of content available to internet users. Content has become overwhelming. By the end of 2012 it was estimated there were 634 million active websites containing more than 20 billion pages on the web with some 144 billion emails being sent every day. And it continues to grow at an almost unimaginable rate. There are 695,000 Facebook status updates every minute, more than 175 million tweets sent every day; and more than 60 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
The problem for users is how to find the information they are looking for amid this mass of data. Traditional approaches have been to develop applications for particular mediums or content type. However, the volume of content generated, the accuracy of audience targeting for that content and the means of accessing the content via different media types such as text, video, graphics and speech, and the devices used is changing continuously.
‘Vast amounts of data’
“Search and information-retrieval has become a ubiquitous part of the lives of millions of people across the world – helping us to locate and retrieve information from websites, library databases, product and service catalogues, social media, and many other information sources,” explains CNGL associate director and SIGIR 2013 general co-chair Dr Páraic Sheridan.
“As the volume of information on the web continues to grow so too does the importance and complexity of search engines designed to sift through the vast amounts of data and find pertinent results that the user seeks – typically in a fraction of a second.”
Not only do search engines have to search through vast amounts of text, they must also be able to retrieve the answers to users’ queries from images, videos, podcasts and other multimedia files, Dr Sheridan adds.