Data Science Talks @CMU Portugal: “Conversational Assistants for Complex Search Tasks” with Jamie Callan (CMU)

In the framework of the Advanced Training Program in Data Science and Machine Learning of the CMU Portugal Program  which is planned to start in 2021, the CMU Portugal Program is organizing a series of webinars entitled “Data Science Talks @ CMU Portugal”. The first talk will be given by Jamie Callan (Professor and Interim Director of the CMU Language Technologies Institute) under the topic “Conversational Assistants for Complex Search Tasks”.

Date: January 28th at 2 p.m. (Lisbon)/ 9 a.m. (Pittsburgh).
Online session: the day before the event, you will receive the login credentials
Registration: free but mandatory. Register here.


Conversational assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant have become common, but they are limited to simple interactions.  This talk describes the TREC Conversational Assistance Track (CAsT), an international forum for research on next generation conversational assistants that support complex information seeking.  CAsT conversations are 8-12 questions that model a person learning about a topic, for example, the World Economy Events and Statistics, Legal and Legislation Topics, the US electoral college, or the Bronze Age collapse.  The talk also discusses the characteristics of successful CAsT systems.


Jamie Callan 

Professor and Interim Director at the Language Technologies Institute, a graduate department in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science.  His recent research develops advanced search engine architectures, neural search algorithms, use of semi-structured knowledge for open domain search, conversational information seeking, and large-scale distributed search. Jamie is a co-organizer of the TREC CAsT evaluations.

Start date

Jan. 28, 2021

2:00 pm

End Date

Jan. 28, 2021

3:00 pm