Posted on January 09, 2017

Qatar University (QU) research team has been ranked 1st and 2nd in the Real-time Summarization track at the 25th annual Text REtrieval Conference (TREC 2016) which was recently organized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland, USA.

The research team, which is led by Dr Tamer Elsayed (pictured), 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, has achieved the 1st place in the mobile notification task among 19 international teams, and the 2nd place in the email digest task among 15 international teams.  The competition in the Real-time Summarization track brought 19 research teams from universities and research labs in Qatar, Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, and USA. QU team is the only team from an Arabic country to participate in the competition this year.

Qatar University team ranked 2 [].jpgThe 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 email of all interesting tweets at the end of the day (email 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.

Commenting on the team achievement, Dr Tamer Elsayed said: “We are proud of our students’ achievement, which 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.”

Maram Hasanain said: “It was a great honor 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 said: “Our 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.”