DEI Event

SIGIR 2021 DEI Panel Discussion

What should the SIGIR community do to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity?

Description: ACM’s Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) has in recent years held annual discussions on topics related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI), and is attempting to formalise this and engage more actively with the research community.  This year’s panel discussion is a space for the discussion of positive actions and interventions we can pursue as a community.  The panelists will each provide input on the topic and this will be followed by general discussion with the attendees.


  • 14 July 2021 13:00 (EDT)
  • 14 July 2021 22:00 (EDT)


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Benjamin Carterette
Senior Research Manager, Spotify; Chair, SIGIR


Biography: Benjamin Carterette is a Senior Research Scientist and Lab Lead at Spotify Research. His research is on experimentation in search and recommender systems, novelty in search results, and user search sessions. He has published nearly a hundred papers, won several best paper awards, been awarded national research grants, and graduated four PhD students at the University of Delaware.  He has chaired conferences such as the ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM) in 2014 and the ACM International Conference in the Theory of Information Retrieval (ICTIR) in 2016, and co-coordinated tracks for the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) for 10 years.  He was elected to the ACM SIGIR Executive Committee positions of Treasurer in 2016 and Chair in 2019.

Nazli Goharian
Clinical Professor of Computer Science, Georgetown University

Biography: Nazli Goharian is Clinical Professor of Computer Science and Associate Director of the Information Retrieval Lab at Georgetown University, which she joined in 2010 . She joined the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)  from industry in 2000. Her research and doctoral student mentorship span the domains of information retrieval, text mining, and natural language processing. Specifically, her interest lies on humane-computing applications such as medical/health domain. Joint with her doctoral students, she received an EMNLP 2017 Best Long Paper Award and COLING 2018 Honorable Mention both for papers on mental health and social media.  For contributions to undergraduate and graduate curriculum development and teaching excellence, she was recognized with the IIT Julia Beveridge Award for faculty (university-wide female faculty of the year) in 2009, the College of Science and Letters Dean’s Excellence Award in Teaching in 2005, and in 2002, 2003, and 2007, the Computer Science Department Teacher of the Year Award.  She was co-area chair at ACL 2018 and 2019;  senior co-area chair in ACL 2020; and co-area chair in ACL 2021.  She has been co-chair of Women in Information retrieval (WIR) at SIGIR since 2019, focusing on gender pay inequity and women leadership.


Mallory Knodel
Chief Technology Officer, Center for Democracy & Technology

Biography: Mallory Knodel is the Chief Technology Officer for the Center for Democracy & Technology. She is the chair of the Human Rights Protocol Considerations research group of the Internet Research Task Force and an advisor to the Freedom Online Coalition on emerging technologies and cybersecurity. As a public interest technologist she has used free software throughout her professional career and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. She holds a BS in Physics and Mathematics and an MA in Science Education.


Douglas W. Oard
Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Biography: Douglas W. Oard is a Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park (USA), with joint appointments in the College of Information Studies (Maryland’s iSchool) and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).  With a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, his research interests center around the use of emerging technologies to support information seeking, and he is perhaps best known for his work on cross-language information retrieval.  Additional information is available at

Luca Soldaini
Applied Scientist, Amazon and Organizer, Queer in AI

Biography: Luca Soldaini (he/him) is a Senior Applied Scientist at Amazon Alexa. Luca’s research efforts are focused on developing techniques for effective question answering at web scale, such as building efficient ranking solutions or expressive generative models. His works have been published in top-tier conferences in NLP and IR. Luca has served as Area Chair for ACL 2020, 2021, and NAACL 2021, and was part of the D&I committee at NAACL 2021. Luca is also a core organizer at Queer In AI, where he coordinates conference events, scholarship programs, and sponsors relations.

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