The 31st Annual International ACM SIGIR Conference
20-24 July 2008, Singapore

Keynote Speakers


1. Dr Kai-Fu Lee (Google)

Title: Delighting Chinese Users: The Google China Experience

Google entered China market as a late-comer in late-2005, with no local employees, an inadequate product line, and small market share.  This talk will discuss Google China's efforts to build up a team, learn about local user needs, apply its global innovation model, and won over users in the past 2.5 years.

This talk will cover the results of our user studies, and our key findings about Chinese users for searching and using the Internet.  It will also discuss how these findings were applied to our products, and how these products gained traction in the market place.  It will also discuss Google's progress in Chinese search relevance, search user experience, and key technology areas where we innovated.

This talk will also discuss the process of internationalization -- how Google hired locally, and applied its global 20% project approach to encourage truly relevant local innovations.  It will discuss several examples of these innovations -- from product innovations like the weather map, the input method editor, SMS greetings search, to research innovations like parallel SVM/SVD.

Google China's progress dispelled the myth that multinational Internet companies cannot succeed in China.  The key ingredients, like in any other success story, are: focus on the customer, embrace the corporate culture, empower local flexibility, and of course, innovate, innovate, innovate.

Kai-Fu Lee is a Vice President of Engineering at Google, Inc. and President of Google Greater China.  He joined Google in 2005 to start Google’s operations in China.

Prior to joining Google, Lee was a Corporate Vice President responsible for advanced natural language and user interface technologies.  He joined Microsoft in 1998 and was the founder of Microsoft Research Asia, which has since become one of the best research centers in the world.  MIT Technology Review called it “the hottest computer science research lab in the world.”

From 1996 to 1998, Lee was the President of Cosmo Software, a subsidiary of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI).  At SGI, Lee was responsible for several product lines and the company’s Web strategy.  Before joining SGI, Lee spent six years at Apple, most recently as vice president of the company's interactive media group, which developed QuickTime, QuickDraw 3D, QuickTime VR and PlainTalk speech technologies.

From 1988 to 1990, he was an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where he developed the world's first speaker-independent continuous speech-recognition system. This system was selected as the “Most Important Innovation of 1988” by Business Week.  While at Carnegie Mellon, Lee also developed the world-champion computer program that plays the game "Othello" and that defeated the human world champion in 1988.

Lee holds a doctorate in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor's in computer science with highest honors from Columbia University. Lee is a Fellow of the IEEE and the Vice Chairman of Committee 100, which is the American Chinese elite group.

2. Prof Lim-Soon Wong (National University of Singapore)

Title: Guilt by Association as a Search Principle

(Download Presentation Slides)

The exploitation of fundamental invariants is among the most elegant solutions to many computational problems in a wide variety of domains. One of the more powerful approaches to exploit invariants is the principle of “guilt by association”. In particular, the principle of guilt by association is the foundation of remote homolog detection, protein function prediction, disease subtype diagnosis, treatment plan prognosis, and other challenges in computational biology. The principle suggests that two entities are in a specific relationship if they exhibit invariant properties underlying that relationship. For example, a protein is predicted to have a particular biological function if it exhibits the underlying invariant properties of that functional group---viz., guilty by association to other members of that functional group through the shared invariant properties.

In my talk, I plan to present several facets of guilt by association in the computational prediction of protein function and draw parallels of these facets in information retrieval. Specifically, I plan to touch on the following facets: (a) the issue of chance associations; (b) novel generalizable forms of association; (c) fusion of multiple heterogeneous sources of evidence; (d) the dichotomy of knowing to a high degree of reliability that two entities are in some relationship and yet not knowing what that relationship is. I hope this talk will be, for the informational retrieval community, a window to the opportunities in computational biology that may benefit from the depth and variety of solutions information retrieval has to offer.

Limsoon Wong is a professor in the School of Computing and the School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS). At the NUS, he also heads the Bioinformatics Programme at the Life Sciences Institute, co-ordinating the bioinformatics activities of over 20 faculty members in 4 different schools. Before moving to NUS, he was Deputy Executive Director for Research at the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R). At the institute, he oversaw the activities of about 350 researchers in about 35 laboratories spanning areas such as information security, knowledge discovery, multimedia understanding, communication systems, RF and optical, modulation and coding, and signal processing. He also held science and technology planning responsibilities at the national level, as an architect of Singapore Science and Technology Plan 2010 and as chair of the information technology section.

Limsoon currently works mostly on knowledge discovery technologies and is especially interested in their application to biomedicine. In the past, he did significant research in database query language theory and finite model theory, as well as significant development work in broad-scale data integration systems. Limsoon has written about 150 research papers, a few of which are among the best cited of their respective fields. His work on broad-scale data integration received in 1997 the first-ever gold award in the 20-year history of the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventor Competitions. For his contributions to database theory, he received the 1997 National Academy of Science Young Scientist Award, the 1998 ASEAN Certificate of Excellence, and the 1999 Singapore Youth Award. For his work on treatment optimization of childhood leukemias, he received the 2003 FEER Asian Innovation Gold Award. For his sustained contributions to science and technology research, he received the 2006 Singapore Youth Award Medal of Commendation.

Limsoon serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (ICP), Bioinformatics (OUP), and Drug Discovery Today (Elsevier). He is a scientific advisor to GeneticXchange (USA), Molecular Connections (India), CellSafe International (Malaysia), and KooPrime (Singapore). He received his BSc(Eng) in 1988 from Imperial College London and his PhD in 1994 from University of Pennsylvania.