Qatar University (QU) research team has been ranked first and second in the Real-time Summarisation track at the 25th annual Text Retrieval Conference (TREC 2016), recently organised by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland, US.
The research team, led by Dr Tamer Elsayed, assistant professor of Computer Science at QU College of Engineering (CENG) and which included 2nd-year PhD student in Computer Science Maram Hasanain and 2nd-year Msc student in computing Reem Suwaileh, achieved the first place in the mobile notification task among 19 international teams, and the second place in the e-mail digest task among 15 international teams.
The competition in the Real-time Summarisation track brought 19 research teams from universities and research labs in Qatar, Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, and the US. QU team was the only one from an Arab country to participate in the competition this year.
The team developed a real-time software system that processes a stream of live tweets. The user of the system describes a topic of interest and the system notifies him/her whenever a novel and relevant tweet to the topic is posted.
The system pushes the tweets to the user’s mobile (push notification task) or sends him/her an e-mail of all interesting tweets at the end of the day (e-mail digest task). More than 50 topics were tested during 10 days. The system’s output was judged accurately by a committee of judges from NIST.
Expressing pride in the students’ achievement, Dr Elsayed said it is the result of their dedication and hard work. “Being part of such an international competition is a motivating experience for our students and drives them to apply their skills beyond the classroom.”
“This underlines our commitment to provide our students with opportunities to meet and interact with their peers and world-class researchers to share and advance their knowledge and research skills. It also demonstrates our continuous efforts to offer them a wide range of activities that unlock their potential and help them invest their talents in the spirit of competition, shared knowledge and teamwork,” added the official.
Maram Hasanain recalled it was a great honour to participate in a world-class competition like TREC. “This helped me learn how to work under pressure and as an active player in a software development team.”
Reem Suwaileh observed that the participation in such a prestigious venue has several benefits. “The major one is that we managed to prove to ourselves that if we are dedicated to our goals we are capable of achieving the best results.”
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