Ryen W. White
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Microsoft Research

Résumé

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Biography

Ryen White is a General Manager at Microsoft Research (MSR), leading the Language, Learning, and Privacy research area (five research groups), the Data Science team, and the Central Engineering organization, around 100 team members in total. His teams advance the state of the art in projects spanning Artificial Intelligence (AI), Human-Computer Interaction, and Systems, and deliver real world impact at scale through collaborations with Microsoft product teams. His research takes a user- and task-centric view on AI, with a focus on pushing the boundaries in search and assistance. In recent roles, Ryen led the applied science organization for the Microsoft Cortana digital assistant, and he was chief scientist for Microsoft Health, establishing a science culture and infusing AI in both products. Technology derived from his and his team’s research has shipped and significantly improved key business metrics in many Microsoft products, including Bing (e.g., using context to improve search relevance for well over half of all Bing search traffic), Xbox, Internet Explorer, Skype, Dynamics, Health, Windows, Cortana, and Office (Outlook, Planner, To Do, Word), and Azure. Ryen is a Fellow of the ACM and of the British Computer Society. He is also an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington. Ryen has published over 300 articles on search and related areas, including significant work on mining and modeling search behavior at scale. He was named “Center of the SIGIR Universe” (most central author in the co-authorship graph) in the 40 years of ACM SIGIR, the top search conference. Ryen has received over 20 awards for his technical contributions, including three SIGIR best paper awards. His doctoral research received the British Computer Society’s Distinguished Dissertation Award for the best Computer Science Ph.D. dissertation in the UK. Ryen received the prestigious Karen Spärck Jones Award for contributions to Information Retrieval (IR). One of his recent books, “Interactions with Search Systems,” received the ASIS&T Best Information Science Book Award. Ryen is editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions of the Web, and he program chaired The Web Conference 2019 and SIGIR 2017. Ryen cares deeply about inclusion and builds and leads highly inclusive organizations. He practices authentic leadership.

Education/Employment

General Manager : 2022 - present
Leading the Language, Learning, and Privacy research area (five research groups), the Data Science team, and the Central Engineering organization.
Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA

Affiliate Full Professor : 2021 - present
1. Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
2. Information School
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Partner Research Director : 2020 - 2022
Leading the Language, Learning, and Privacy research area, which includes the following research groups:
1. Cryptography and Privacy
2. Knowledge Technologies and Intelligent Experiences
3. Language and Information Technologies
4. Natural Language Processing
5. Privacy in AI
Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA

Partner Research Manager : 2018 - 2020
Leading the "Intelligent Experiences" research group
Microsoft Research AI, Redmond, WA

Director of Applied Science : 2017 - 2018
Microsoft Cortana, Bellevue, WA

Chief Scientist : 2015 - 2017
Microsoft Health, Redmond, WA

Sr Principal Researcher : 2006 - 2015
Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA

Research Scientist : 2004 - 2006
Institute for Advanced Computer Studies,
University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Ph.D. Candidate : 2001 - 2004 (Defended 2004, Graduated 2005)
Department of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Supervisors: Joemon M. Jose, Ian Ruthven, C.J. van Rijsbergen
Title: Implicit Feedback for Interactive Information Retrieval

Visiting Research Scientist : Fall 2003
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Bachelor of Science (joint honours) : 1997 - 2001
University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
Majors: Computer Science and Management Studies

Honors and Awards

  • Test of Time Award at 45th ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2022)
  • ACM Fellow (Class of 2021)
    For "contributions to information retrieval, human-computer interaction, and computational health."
  • ASIS&T Best Information Science Book Award 2017 (for "Interactions with Search Systems," the outstanding book in information science published during the preceding calendar year)
  • Best Student Paper Award at ACM UMAP Conference on User Modeling Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP 2016)
  • Editors' Choice Award in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics (Vol 59)
  • Best Student Paper Award at 24th ACM CIKM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2015)
  • Microsoft BCS/BCS IRSG Karen Spärck Jones Award 2014
    For contributions to information retrieval, specifically "to a better understanding of search interaction, e.g., through novel and creative analyses of vital and as of yet unexplored aspects of searcher behavior, closely coupled with the development of models and applications for improving the search experience."
  • Best Paper Award at 23rd ACM CIKM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2014)
  • Best Paper Award at 36th ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2013)
  • Best Paper Award at ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (SIGCHI 2011)
  • Best Paper Award at 33rd ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2010)
  • Best Paper Award in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (for best article in JASIST in 2010)
  • Best Paper Award at 30th ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2007)
  • BCS/CPHC Distinguished Dissertation Award for the best Computer Science Ph.D. dissertation in the United Kingdom for 2004/2005
  • Best Student Paper Award at the 26th European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2004)
  • Best Paper Award at the 9th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT 2003)
  • UNISYS Executive of Interest Project Prize for best Undergraduate Computing Science Thesis, Dept. of Computing Science, University of Glasgow (2000/2001)

Honorable Mentions and Best Paper Finalists

  • Honorable Mention Award at ACM CSCW Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2021)
  • Honorable Mention Award at ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2019)
  • Honorable Mention Award at ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (SIGCHI 2015)
  • Honorable Mention Award at ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (SIGCHI 2011)
  • Best Paper Finalist at Symposium on Information Interaction in Context (IIiX 2010)
  • Best Paper Finalist at International Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP 2010)

Other Awards

  • Distinguished Service Award, ACM Transactions on Information Systems (2021). For over 10 years’ service to ACM TOIS, in various roles: Associate Editor (2010-2017), Senior Associate Editor (2017-2021), and acting Editor-in-Chief for select submissions (2018-2021)
  • Center of the SIGIR Universe for the author most central in the ACM SIGIR co-authorship graph over 40 years of publications at the SIGIR conference (SIGIR 2017)
  • John Moyes Lessells Scholarship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2003)

Organization

Editor-in-Chief

Editorial board memberships:

Area chair / Senior PC member / Metareviewer:

Conference organization:

Journal special issue guest editing:

  • ACM Transactions on Information Systems on "Contextual Search and Recommendation" (2014)
  • Information Processing and Management on "Human-Computer Information Retrieval" (2013)
  • IEEE Computer on "Information Seeking Support Systems" (2009)
  • Information Processing and Management on "Evaluating Exploratory Search Systems" (2007)
  • Communications of the ACM on "Supporting Exploratory Search" (2006)

Workshop and symposia chairing:

  • ACM WSDM workshop: "Health Search and Data Mining" (2020)
  • ACM WSDM workshop: "Task Intelligence" (2019)
  • Human Computer Interaction & Information Retrieval Symposium (2008-2013) [symposium turned into ACM CHIIR]
  • ACM SIGIR workshop: “Health Search and Discovery” (2013)
  • National Science Foundation Invitational workshop: “Information Seeking Support Systems” (2008)
  • ACM SIGIR workshop: “Web Information Seeking and Interaction” (2007)
  • ACM SIGCHI workshop: “Exploratory Search and HCI” (2007)
  • ACM SIGIR workshop: “Evaluating Exploratory Search Systems” (2006)

Professional Memberships

  • ACM: Fellow (2021 – present), Member (2005 – present), SIGIR member (2005 – present), SIGWEB (2021 - present)
  • British Computer Society: Fellow (2016 – present)
  • IEEE: Senior Member (2021 – present), Member (2020 – present)

Doctoral Dissertation Committees

  • Tiziano Piccardi, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland (2021)
  • Shawon Sakar, University of Washington, USA (2021)
  • Hosein Azarbonyad, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2019)
  • Roberto González-Ibáñez, Rutgers University, USA (2013)
  • Qi Guo, Emory University, USA (2012)

Publications

A current list of my publications is available here.

Teaching Experience

  • Co-instructor (with Bill Kules) of LBSC 795 (Principles of Human-Computer Communication) (Spring 2006). iSchool, U. Maryland at College Park.
  • Co-instructor (with Doug Oard) of LBSC 878 (Doctoral Seminar in Information Storage and Retrieval) (Spring 2005). iSchool, U. Maryland at College Park.