Search engine collaboration

February 03, 2016

A new RMIT-led research project is getting a cash boost from Google to investigate search engine effectiveness.

Search engine collaboration

Lead researcher Associate Professor Falk Scholer is delighted with the $US56,000 Google Faculty Research Award for the project in the area of information retrieval, extraction, and organisation.

“It’s particularly exciting to receive support for this kind of research into search engine effectiveness from a leader in web search, like Google,” Scholer says.

The Google award will fund user-study experiments and support a top research student to work on the project, titled “Magnitude Estimation for the Evaluation of Search Systems”.

Scholer is running the project in collaboration with Professor Andrew Turpin, now of the University of Melbourne, but a former leader of RMIT’s celebrated Information, Search and Retrieval group (ISAR), which is ranked second in Asia/Oceania for Information Retrieval research.

“The project will be looking at a new approach for measuring whether users are satisfied with the results that they get from search engines,” he says.

“The aim is to enable more precise measurement of search effectiveness, and therefore allow future improvements to search systems to be identified more easily and reliably, supporting the faster development of impactful search technology.”

The current leader of ISAR, Professor Mark Sanderson, said the award underlined how information retrieval research at RMIT was well regarded internationally.

“Understanding how to improve search engines is an important research field here at RMIT, and getting support from Google is a big boost for us,” he says.

“I’m sure we’d all join in congratulating Falk, and wish him the best of luck with the project.

“It’s great to receive global recognition like this, especially as it follows on from his paper being selected as one of the top five presented at SIGIR 2015 – the world’s foremost information retrieval conference.”

SIGIR, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval, is the major international forum for the presentation of new research results and for the demonstration of new systems and techniques in Information Retrieval.

Scholer’s SIGIR paper, “The Benefits of Magnitude Estimation Relevance Assessments for Information Retrieval Evaluation”,  foreshadowed the project that has now won the Google award.

“The paper at SIGIR reported on an initial study in the area and the Google grant will enable us to investigate evaluation using magnitude estimation more deeply, in particular in the context of web search,” he says.

RMIT is ranked in the world’s top 100 universities for computer science and information systems. Find out more.

This article was first published by RMIT on 1 February 2016. Read the original article here.

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