Dean’s Lecture Series

Established in 2003, the Dean's Lecture Series brings some of the leading minds in tech to the Golisano College to share their insights with students, faculty, and the community. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Next Speaker

Susan Dumais poster containing text from DLS page

Susan Dumais, Technical Fellow, Microsoft

Wednesday, November 3, 2021
5:00-6:15 pm EST (Virtual)
Zoom link will be provided in the confirmation email upon registration for the event.


Susan Dumais a Technical Fellow at Microsoft, Director of the Microsoft Research Labs in New England, New York City and Montreal, and an adjunct professor in the Information School at the University of Washington.  Prior to joining Microsoft, she was at Bell Labs where she developed Latent Semantic Analysis, an early word embedding technique for search.  Her current research focuses on personalization, email search, and large-scale behavioral log analysis.  She has worked with several Microsoft product groups (Bing, Windows Search, SharePoint, and Office Help) on search-related innovations, and holds several patents on novel retrieval algorithms and interfaces.  Susan has published widely in the fields of information retrieval, human-computer interaction, and cognitive science.   She is an ACM Fellow, was elected to the CHI Academy, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), and received the SIGIR Gerard Salton Award for lifetime achievement in information retrieval, the ACM Athena Lecturer Award, the Tony Kent Strix Award for outstanding contributions to IR, the ACM SIGCHI Research Award for lifetime achievement in HCI, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Indiana University Department of Psychological and Brain Science.

Title:  The Potential for Personalization in Search

Abstract:  Traditionally Web search engines returned the same results to everyone who asks the same question.  However, using a single ranking for everyone in every context at every point in time limits how well a search engine can do in providing relevant information.  In this talk I present a framework to quantify the "potential for personalization” which is used to characterize the extent to which different people have different intents for the same query.  I describe several examples of how different types of contextual features are represented and used to improve search quality for individuals and groups.  Finally, I conclude by highlighting important challenges in developing personalized systems at Web scale including privacy, transparency, serendipity, and evaluation.



For more information on the Dean's Lecture Series please contact Event Manager Nancy Dimock

Past Speakers

2018-2019 speakers

Brett Williams, Major General USAF (Retired) presents "Defending the Nation in Cyberspace"

Mike Regelski '89, '93, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Electrical Sector, EATON Corp. presents "Cybersecurity and Industrial Internet of Things"

Ruthe Farmer, Chief Evangelist at presents "Championing Change: Creating Diversity in Tech at Scale"

Suzet M. McKinney, CEO/Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District presents “Old Problems, New Solutions: Can Technology Offer Solutions to Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security Challenges?”

2017-2018 speakers

T.L. Taylor, Professor, Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology presents “Watch Me Play: Games, Live Streaming, and the Rise of Networked Broadcast

Mark Guzdial, Professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology presents “Improving Computing Education with Learning Sciences: Predictions, Subgoals, and Parsons”

Sir Dermot Turing presents “Alan Turing – The Man Behind the Myth”

2016-2017 speakers

Dr. Jeremy Pickens, Chief Scientist, Catalyst Repository Systems presents “Challenges and Opportunities in eDiscovery and Information Governance: Not Everything is Big Data”

Vicki Hanson, ACM President and Distinguished Professor

2015-2016 speakers

Vint Cerf, Internet pioneer, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google presents “Digital Vellum: Preserving Digital Content for the Ages”

James D. Herbsleb, Professor, Institute for Software Research, Carnegie Mellon University

2014-2015 speakers

Kaitlin Thaney, Director, Mozilla Science Lab

John Resig '05, Creator of jQuery and Dean of Open Source, Khan Academy (2015 Golisano College Distinguished Alumnus)

Jennifer Lesser Henley, Director of Security Operations, Facebook

2013-2014 speakers

Alex “Sandy” Pentland, Director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program; co-leader of the World Economic Forum's Big Data and Personal Data Initiatives.

Linda Northrop, Director of the Research, Technology, and System Solutions Program, Software Engineering Institute Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University 

Dr. Luis Von Ahn - CAPTCHA and Duolingo Creator; Professor, Carnegie Mellon University