Every three years, SIGIR presents the Gerard Salton Award to an individual who has made significant, sustained and continuing contributions to research in information retrieval. The Salton Award will be presented at the 2012 conference, and the winner will make the opening keynote address.
Daniel R. Masys, Biomedical and Health Informatics, University of Washington
Retrieving Information from the Book of Humanity: the Personalized Medicine Data Tsunami crashes on the beach of Jeopardy
From a mute but eloquent alphabet of 4 characters emerges a complex biological ’literature‘ whose highest expression is human existence. The rapidly advancing technologies of ’nextgen sequencing‘ will soon make it possible to inexpensively acquire and store the characters of our complete personal genetic instruction set and make it available for health assessment and disease management. This uniquely personal form of ’big data‘ brings with it challenges that will be discussed in this keynote presentation. Topics will include a brief introduction to the linguistic challenges of ’biology as literature‘, the impact of personal molecular variation on traditional approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and the challenges of information retrieval when a large volume of primary observations is made that is associated with an evanescent and rapidly changing corpus of scientific interpretation of those primary observations. Experience with extracting high quality pheonotypes from electronic medical records has shown that Natural Language Processing capability is an essential information extraction function for correlation of clinical events with personal genetic variation. Any powerful set of information can be used or misused, and put those who depend upon it in jeopardy. These issues, and a lesson from the long running Jeopardy TV series, will be discussed.