Contact Details

Computer Science Department
101F MacLean Hall
Iowa City
Iowa - 52246
Office phone: 319-335-0737

Brief Bio

I am a Professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Iowa. I joined this University as an Assistant Professor in 1989. Prior to that I was a professor at George Mason University. I received my doctorate from Syracuse University in 1985.

2017: A Special Honour

I am delighted and honoured to have received the 2017 Test of Time award from ACM-SIGIR for a paper written in 1983. Since I was just a beginning PhD student at that time most if not all the credit goes to my advisor (Dr. Katzer) and to my senior fellow students (Dr. Tessier and Dr. Frakes) in the research group. This SIGIR paper also marks my very first presentation at a conference.

ACM SIGIR Test of Time Award. August 2017. This award recognizes the importance of the following paper written in 1983. Katzer, J., Tessier, J., Frakes, W., and P. Srinivasan. A Study of Overlap in Document Representations. SIGIR Proceedings, 1983.

A Few Details

I received my PhD in 1985 from Syracuse University, School of Information Studies under the guidance of the late Professor Jeffrey Katzer. I am extremely grateful to Professor Katzer for my training and initial exposure to research. Prior to that in 1978 I received my M.Sc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences from Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, India. After a brief post doc at OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Dublin, Ohio), I joined the Information Systems & Systems Engineering department, George Mason University as an Assistant Professor. While there I worked on areas such as rough sets and fuzzy sets, and their hybrid all applied to problems in information retrieval. In 1989 I moved to the University of Iowa, with a joint appointment between the School of Library and Information Science and the Department of Management Sciences. In the early years I studied algorithms for query expansion and retrieval and also for text categorization especially in the context of MEDLINE. In 1995 I had a one-semester sabbatical (recently renamed to Faculty Development leave) at Cornell University. Being a guest of the late Professor Gerard Salton was illuminating in many ways, certainly productive and fun. Especially interesting was his strategy of having weekly seminars, one that I since have adopted the weekly journal club for my group (and for this at a minimum I am grateful to Professor Salton). Towards the end of the 90s I worked on web crawlers; this interest continues with explorations of allied web features such as status locality. In 2002, a U. Iowa Faculty Scholar award allowed a 1.5 year extended research leave. This opportunity I utilized for a visit to the Lister Hill Research Center at the National Library of Medicine, NIH. The excellent colleagues and environment offered a strong basis to develop my interest in biomedical text mining. In 2009 I moved my appointment as Full Professor to the Computer Science department at the U. of Iowa. Since then I have also been Director of Graduate Studies which essentially means I am the first point of contact for graduate students in addition to overseeing graduate studies. In 2010 I spent my most recent development leave at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore as a guest of Professor N. Balakrishnan. The excellent enviroment provided by the Supercomputer Education and Research Center was perfect for thinking through and developing several research directions. These include my recent work on summary based document retrieval strategies for biomedical full texts and work with health beliefs in social media. Most recently I have explored problems in the area of social media analytics with emphasis on political communications during elections, privacy and security in communications, language and style of communications. My inclination for solving research problems is to explore and extend information retrieval, text analytics and statistical natural language processing models and am generally agnostic to application area. Looking back almost all of my work has been accomplished in collaboration with students and colleagues. Needless to say these collaborations have made the research process more fun and rewarding.