School of Informatics
London EC1V OHB
I may be contacted through LinkedIn.
I'm Professor Emeritus in the Department of Information Science, which is part of the School of Informatics in the City University. I was head of department from 1988 to 1996; this is the poem one of my colleagues, Susan Jones, wrote for me when I came to the end of that post.
In 1987 I started the Centre for Interactive Systems Research in the Department. My co-director for a number of years was Micheline Beaulieu, subequently at the University of Sheffield. The current director is Andy MacFarlane.
I was full-time at City from 1978 to 1998. I was previously at University College London (where I did my PhD with B.C. Brookes), and before that at Aslib. Before that, I took an MSc here at City. My first degree was in Mathematics from Cambridge.
My main research interests are in theories and models for information retrieval (specifically probabilistic models) and the design and evaluation of IR systems. I was the author (back in 1976, with Karen Sparck Jones) of a probabilistic theory of relevance weighting, which has become quite well established in the field. An extension of that model (work with Stephen Walker) led to the BM25 function for term weighting and document scoring, now used by many other research groups. A further extension (work with Hugo Zaragoza and Michael Taylor) led to the field-weighted version, BM25F.
Our main experimental vehicle in the Centre during my time at City was the Okapi system, also due to Stephen Walker. We used Okapi both for live experiments with real users in operational settings, and for laboratory experiments in the Cranfield tradition. In this latter category, we developed a strong involvement in the TREC programme.
I have at various times taught the following:
- information retrieval (elementary, advanced, overview, detail, to specialists, to generalists, long courses, short courses, and many different aspects of);
- computers and programming;
- systems analysis;
- research methods;
and a few other things. In my present position (see above), I do little teaching.
And now for something completely different...
My father's poems (very good).
Another poetry website I maintain (contains a few of my own).
Last updated January 2013