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Wessel Kraaij recognized as Distinguished Member of the ACM for outstanding contributions to computing

On November 8, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) named Wessel Kraaij as one of the 2017 Distinguished Members. ACM Distinguished Members have made a significant contribution to the field of computing, computer science or information technology. This year, worldwide 43 scientists received the ACM distinction, Wessel Kraaij being the only scientist from the Netherlands. Kraaij received the award for his contributions to the field of Information Retrieval (IR).

Innovation because of leading professionals

"Computing technology is becoming an increasingly dominant force in our daily lives and is transforming society at every level,” explains ACM President Vicki L. Hanson. “In naming a new roster of Distinguished Members each year, ACM underscores that the innovations which improve our lives do not come about by accident, but rather are the result of the hard work, inspiration and creativity of leading professionals in the field. We honour the 2017 class of ACM Distinguished Members for the essential role their accomplishments play in how we live and work."

Content based video retrieval

Kraaij’s main technical contributions relate to the application of natural language processing and statistical language modelling techniques for a range of IR tasks such as Cross-Language IR, Topic Detection and Tracking, Biomedical IR, Web Search and Automatic Summarization. Since 2003, he has been scientific co-coordinator of the influential annual TRECVID video retrieval evaluation benchmark conference organized at the National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST). In this role he has contributed to the recent significant improvements in content based video retrieval. He received several awards for best papers and technical achievements and has been active as a technical PC member and organizer of leading IR conferences.

Combining data and knowledge

Wessel Kraaij is currently affiliated to the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS, Leiden University) as a full professor for Applied Data Analytics and to TNO (the Netherlands Organization for applied scientific research) in The Hague as a principal scientist. His current research focus is on developing learning algorithms for personalized health recommendations and improved clinical decision support exploiting a combination of observed health data and structured knowledge. In this setting he also develops data governance concepts that empower citizens with full control on access to their health data and facilitate privacy respecting analysis.

The ACM Distinguished Member Recognition Program, initiated in 2006, recognizes those members with at least 15 years of professional experience who have made significant accomplishments or achieved a significant impact on the computing field. Recent ACM Distinguished Members in the areas of Information Retrieval and Multimedia include: Chris Clifton, Jimmy Huang (2017), Chong Wah Ngo, David Carmel, Alberto del Bimbo (2016), Charles L.A. Clarke, Hang Li, Nuria Oliver (2015), Lynda Hardman (2014).