The Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) project has created standard test sets and evaluation methodology to support the development of methods for content-based access to material structured for human, rather than machine, consumption since 1992. Starting with (massive-for-the-time) two gigabytes of newswire text and progressing to web-scale data collections, TREC has examined a variety of tasks including question answering, retrieving digital video, web search, legal discovery, secondary use of electronic health records, and sentiment analysis in blogs and tweets. TREC's "coopetition" paradigm emphasizes individual experiments evaluated on a benchmark task that leverages a relatively modest investment in infrastructure into a significantly greater amount of research and development. This has had three major impacts: improved effectiveness of information access algorithms; cross-fertilization of ideas across research groups with the eventual transfer of technology into products; and the formation of new research areas enabled by the construction of critical infrastructure.
Ellen Voorhees is a Fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where her research focuses on developing and validating appropriate evaluation schemes to measure system effectiveness for diverse information access tasks. She received a B.Sc. in computer science from the Pennsylvania State University, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Cornell University. Prior to joining NIST she was a Senior Member of Technical Staff at Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton, NJ where her work on intelligent agents applied to information access resulted in three patents. Voorhees is a fellow of the ACM, a member of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and has been elected as a fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences. She has published numerous articles on information retrieval techniques and evaluation methodologies and serves on the review boards of several journals and conferences.
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