Opening Panel

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ACM SIGIR 2013: Celebrating 20 Years of Web Search

Special Opening Panel featuring the creator of JumpStation, the very first Web search engine!
Did you know that 2013 marks the 20th Anniversary of the very first web search engine? SIGIR 2013 is celebrating this milestone anniversary with an Opening Panel discussion to look back over 20 years of Web search and the broader history of information retrieval research.

This special panel session will bring together pioneers and practitioners of information retrieval and web search engine technology and will take place during the SIGIR 2013 Opening Session on Monday, 29th July (09:00 – 10:15) at the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

Recalling JumpStation - the World's first public Web search engine
By most accounts, JumpStation was the first Web search engine that behaved, and appeared to the user the way current Web search engines do. Hosted at the University of Stirling in Scotland, it started indexing on 12 December 1993.

The creator of the JumpStation search engine, Jonathon Fletcher, is our special guest and will join representatives of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! on this SIGIR 2013 panel, to recall Web search twenty years ago and discuss emerging trends in Web search today.

The panel session will be chaired by Alan Smeaton of Dublin City University, who was also the General Chair of the SIGIR conference when it was held in Dublin in 1994.

The panel line-up includes:

  • Jonathon Fletcher, creator of the JumpStation search engine
  • Stephen Robertson, Microsoft Research and Visiting Professor, University College London
  • Ricardo Baeza-Yates, VP of Yahoo! Research for Europe and Latin America
  • Paddy Flynn, Director for Product Quality Operations EMEA, Google Ireland

Don’t miss this unique panel discussion, which promises insights into the early days of Web search and expert predictions on what’s to come for this dynamic field.

Panel Bios:

Jonathon Fletcher

Creator of the Jumpstation web search engine: 1993

Jonathon Fletcher now runs automated market-making and liquidity-provision businesses in Asia for a global sell-side financial firm. He has traded in Japanese equity and derivative markets and has architected, implemented, and operated trading systems in Asia.

Jonathon is the author of the JumpStation, the first modern public web search engine that behaved and appeared to the user the way current web search engines do (web crawling, indexing, and search box). It started indexing on Sunday 12th December 1993 and was announced on the Mosaic “What’s New” webpage on 21st December 1993.

Stephen Robertson

Microsoft Research and University College London

Stephen Robertson obtained a First degree in mathematics from Cambridge, a masters in information science from City University and a doctorate from University College London with BC Brookes and a research fellowship at University College London. He began collaborations with Karen Sparck Jones and Nick Belkin at this time, before returning to City University. Stephen then spent three months on a Fulbright scholarship at UC Berkeley (where he collaborated with Bill Cooper and Bill Maron). He started the Centre for Interactive Systems Research at City, and built a research group with a strong focus on the design and evaluation of information retrieval systems (including Micheline Beaulieu and Stephen Walker, and the Okapi system).

He also served as head of the Department of Information Science during part of this time. Stephen has been a participant in TREC benchmarking since it started in 1991. He was researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge from 1998 to 2013 and is now a visiting professor at University College London. Stephen’s main areas of work are: theories and models for information retrieval, particularly probabilistic models; evaluation of retrieval systems. He invented BM25, and won the Tony Kent STRIX award (Institute of Information Scientists) in 1998 and the Gerard Salton Award (SIGIR) in 2000. He is Fellow, Girton College Cambridge, 2003, and Professor Emeritus, City University, 2010.

Ricardo Baeza-Yates

VP of Yahoo! Research for Europe and Latin America

Ricardo Baeza-Yates is VP of Yahoo! Research for Europe and Latin America, leading the labs at Barcelona, Spain and Santiago, Chile, since 2006. Since 2005, he is also a part-time Professor at the Deptment of Information and Communication Technologies of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. Prior to 2005 he was Professor and Director of the Center for Web Research at the Deptartment of Computing Science of the University of Chile. He obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in 1989 and before that he obtained two masters (M.Sc. CS & M.Eng. EE) and the electrical engineering degree from the University of Chile in Santiago.

He is co-author of the best-seller Modern Information Retrieval textbook, published in 1999 by Addison-Wesley with a second enlarged edition in 2011, that won the ASIST 2012 Book of the Year award. He is also co-author of the 2nd edition of the Handbook of Algorithms and Data Structures, Addison-Wesley, 1991; and co-editor of Information Retrieval: Algorithms and Data Structures, Prentice-Hall, 1992, among more than 300 other publications. He has received the Organization of American States award for young researchers in exact sciences (1993) and the CLEI Latin American distinction for contributions to CS in the region (2009). In 2003 he was the first computer scientist to be elected to the Chilean Academy of Sciences. During 2007 he was awarded the Graham Medal for innovation in computing, given by the University of Waterloo to distinguished ex-alumni. In 2009 he was named ACM Fellow and in 2011 IEEE Fellow.

Paddy Flynn

Director for Product Quality Operations EMEA, Google Ireland Ltd

Paddy Flynn joined Google in 2009 and is Director for Product Quality Operations for EMEA. This involves managing a multi-market team who work across Google’s core products. The primary focus of this team is to ensure user safety through adherence and promotion of Google’s guidelines and policies.

Paddy has 20 years of experience prior to joining Google, he has a background in information technology and general management across a wide range of industries and businesses including working in consulting for a number of years. Paddy graduated from University College Cork as an Electrical Engineer and started his career at Accenture.

Alan Smeaton

Panel Chair - Dublin City University
Since 1997, Alan Smeaton has been a Professor of Computing at Dublin City University where he has previously been Head of School and Dean of Faculty. His early research interests covered the application of natural language processing techniques to text-based information retrieval but this then broadened to cover the indexing and content-based retrieval of information in all media, text, image, audio and especially digital video.

The focus of his work now is in information access for human digital memory applications, applications of the sensor web, and benchmarking content-based video applications. He was a member of the founding program committee for TREC in 1991 and has been coordinator of TRECVid since 2001.

Tel: +353 (0)1 296 8688 | Email: sigir2013@conferencepartners.ie