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It must be the season. I have two very good pieces of news:
Yesterday, I passed the final exam for my minor subject, computational linguistics – and with flying colours, too!
I have to admit that I was rather nervous beforehand: I have a rather technical and scientific background, and as such had my difficulties with my computational linguistics lectures. After all, my professor is someone who starts his lectures on communication theory with Socrates and Plato. But all went well, and I was even lauded after the exam. I think the formulation was “If our computational linguistics majors understood the subject as well as you do, we’d be happy.”
This exam concludes my studies. Now all that is left is waiting for my advisor to grade my thesis, and waiting for the bureaucracy to write me a certificate. Then I will officially be a “Diplom-Informatiker” (ie. Master of Science in Computer Science.)
The second piece of good news is that our paper for ECIR 2006 was accepted. There were 178 papers submitted, and ours was one of 37 that were accepted – which makes me very proud. We got some very positive comments from the reviewers; mostly along the lines of “interesting and original work” and “there really is a need in our community for more of this kind of studies". This kind of appreciation really encourages me to further pursue this line of work. I think that my thesis can only be a preliminary treatment, and the whole field of social information retrieval is only just beginning to emerge. I just have to convince someone to fund me for further research…
I will also present the paper at ECIR in April 2006; the conference venue is Imperial College, London, and I’m quite giddy with anticipation to present my work in such a location.
So these are two great christmas presents for myself – and a marvelous conclusion for this year.