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The latest iteration of the NTCIR effort, NTCIR-8, has concluded. NTCIR is a collaborative information retrieval forum, focusing on tasks in East Asian languages (currently Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, plus English); it is otherwise known as “the Asian TREC”. The proceedings are available online.

This year was my first at NTCIR. It’s a reasonably sized community, drawn largely but not exclusively from East Asia, engaged in an interesting and diverse range of tasks. It is, therefore, a good opportunity to meet people in this geographic and scientific area. There are also some interesting cultural differences. The audience was very reluctant to ask questions of speakers, and once Charlie Clarke and Ian Soboroff left (on the last day), it was noticeably quieter.

The first day of NTCIR was given over to EVIA (the international workshop for evaluating information access), for which I was co-chair. There were a number of interesting papers, not least from Charlie Clarke and Ian Soboroff, and (repeatedly) from Tetsuya Sakai. We’ve informally renamed it the “Tetsuya Sakai Memorial Colloquium”. The proceedings for EVIA are also available online.

The organization of NTCIR is changing from this year, with a stronger focus upon community-led initiatives. The new Evaluation Co-Chairs are Hideo Joho, of the University of Tsukuba, and the famous Tetsuya Sakai, of Microsoft Research Asia. The Call for NTCIR-9 Task Proposals has been released. If you’re interested in proposing a task for the next iteration of NTCIR, concluding in December 2011, please grab the Call, and contact the organizers. And once the tasks have been decided and announced, please consider taking part in one of the efforts. I recommend NTCIR as an approachable, interesting, and energetic community to get involved with.


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