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Short Bio

I am a reader (associate professor) at University College London, Department of Computer Science and am a faculty fellow of the Alan Turing Institute on Data Science. I also work as a research consultant for Microsoft Research, Cambridge and serve as one of the organisers of the Centre for Computational Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML) at UCL. My research interests lie in the areas of information retrieval, data mining, and applications of machine learning, probability and statistics. I am also a co-founder of the company, UserContext.AI, where we focus on user engagement, personalisation, inferring users interests and recommendation based on users histories and contents they have visited in the Web.

I am a recipient of the Early Career Fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). To this date, I have received approximately 1.4 million GBP external funding from funding agencies including European Union, EPSRC, Google and Elsevier. I am an elected member of the executive committee for ACM SIGIR and serve as a co-editor-in-chief for the Information Retrieval Journal. I am the recipient of Karen Sparck Jones 2015 Award for the contributions of my work to the information retrieval research in 2015 and am one of the recipients of the Google Faculty Research Award in 2014/2015. 

 For more information about recent publications, please visit my publications page.

I am currently recruiting new PhD students and postdocs. Interested applicants with strong backgrounds in machine learning, probability and statistics are highly encouraged to contact me via email. 

TREC Tasks Track

Together with some collaborators, I am currently organising the TREC 2017 Tasks Track funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

Search engines are often used to accomplish complex tasks (information needs); achieving these tasks currently requires users to issue multiple queries. The Tasks track aims at evaluating the ability of search engines to determine the actual task that caused a user to issue a query, and rather than showing results relevant to the query submitted, guide the user to achieve their real-life task. More information on the Tasks Track can be found here.

Group Members

  • Shangsong Liang, Post-doc researcher (May 2015 – now)
  • Jiyin He, Visiting researcher (February 2015 – now)
  • Manisha Verma, PhD student (November 2013 – now)
  • Rishabh Mehrotra, PhD student (February 2014 – now)
  • Bhaskar Mitra, PhD student (February 2016 – now)
  • Andrew Mpapalika, PhD student (September 2016 – now)

Latest News

  • June 2017 - I gave an invited talk at the London Technology Week
  • June 2017 - We launched a new start-up, UserContext.AI based on our recent research work. More information can be found here
  • May 2017 - I will be serving as a track chair for WWW 2018
  • May 2017 - I will be serving in the editorial board of the AI Journal
  • April 2017 - I was invited to join the IRFest, where I gave an invited talk about my current research. 
  • April 2017 - I organised the Doctoral Consortium at the ECIR Conference
  • March 2017- I co-organised the Second Workshop on Supporting Complex Search Tasks at ACM CHIIR. 
  • March 2017- Our paper titled "User Behaviour and Task Characteristics received the best paper award at the ACM CHIIR Conference. 
  • March 2017 - Our project has been funded by the European Union Horizon 2020
  • March 2017 - I gave an opening talk for the Robots Exhibition at the Science Museum
  • February 2017 - I received the EPSRC Early Career Fellowship, for which I will be receiving approximately £1 million over five years. We will soon be recruiting new PhD students and postdocs!
  • February 2017 - I gave an invited talk at Facebook
  • February 2017 – I will be giving an invited talk at Thomson Reuters.
  • February 2017 – We have two papers to appear at the WWW Conference.
  • January 2017 –  I will be serving as the co-editor in chief of the IR Journal, together with Tetsuya Sakai and Charles Clarke.
  • December 2016 – I will be serving as a supervisor for the Doctoral Consortium at the ACM WSDM Conference.
  • December 2016 – I gave an invited talk at the Tungsten Lectures.
  • December 2016 – We have a full paper accepted to the AAAI Conference.
  • November 2016 – I gave a keynote talk at the AIRS Conference.
  • November 2016 – We gave a tutorial at the Search Solutions Conference.
  • October 2016 – TREC Tasks Track will be running for one more year in 2017.
  • September 2016 – I will be giving an invited talk at the Digital Catapult.
  • August 2016 – I will be giving an invited talk at the Women in Machine Intelligence event.
  • July 2016 – Together with Prof. Kal Jarvelin, we co-organised a workshop on Task Based Information Access, funded by the ELIAS Network.
  • April 2016 – I have been elected as one of the faculty fellows of the Alan Turing Institute on Data Science. More information about the institute can be found here.
  • March 2016 – I received the Karen Sparck Jones Award and gave a keynote talk on task based information retrieval at ECIR 2016. Details about there award can be found here
  • March 2016 – Manisha Verma gave a keynote talk at the Proactive Information Retrieval Workshop at ECIR 2016.
  • March 2016 – We have two fullone short papers accepted to ACM SIGIR 2016.
  • March 2016 – Rishabh Mehrotra has joined Microsoft Research New York for an internship.
  • March 2016 – I gave a tutorial at ACM CHIIR 2016.
  • March 2016 – We have a paper accepted to the NAACL HLT Conference.
  • March 2016 – Dr. Yilmaz gave an invited talk at University of Sheffield.
  • February 2016 – I will be serving as an Area Chair for ACM CIKM 2016.
  • February 2016 – Bhaskar Mitra from Microsoft has joined the group as a PhD student.
  • February 2016 - I will be serving as the PC Chair for the ACM SIGIR 2018 Conference.