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IDS Guest Lecture: by Professor Sihem Amer-Yahia

Title: Guided Text-based Item Exploration
Speaker: Professor Sihem Amer-Yahia, CNRS Research Director, Lab of Informatics of Grenoble, France
Moderator: Professor Reynold Cheng, Associate Director of HKU IDS; Professor, Department of Computer Science, HKU
Date: Apr 20, 2023
Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm

Mode: Face-to-face (Advanced registration is required for on-site participants, and a confirmation email will be sent to participants who have successfully registered.)


Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) provides guidance to users to help them refine their needs and find items of interest in large volumes of structured data. I will present GUIDES, a framework for guided Text-based Item Exploration (TIE). TIE raises new challenges: (i) the need to abstract and query textual data and (ii) the need to combine queries on both structured and unstructured content. GUIDES represents text dimensions such as sentiment and topics, and introduces new text-based operators that are seamlessly integrated with traditional EDA operators. To train TIE policies, it relies on a multi-reward function that captures different textual dimensions, and extends the Deep Q-Networks (DQN) architecture with multi-objective optimization. Our experiments on Amazon and IMDb, two real-world datasets, demonstrate the necessity of capturing fine-grained text dimensions, the superiority of using both text-based and attribute-based operators over attribute-based operators only, and the need for multi-objective optimization.


Professor Sihem Amer-Yahia
CNRS Research Director @ Lab of Informatics of Grenoble, France
Sihem Amer-Yahia is a Silver Medal CNRS Research Director and Deputy Director of the Lab of Informatics of Grenoble. She works on exploratory data analysis and fairness in job marketplaces. Before joining CNRS, she was Principal Scientist at QCRI, Senior Scientist at Yahoo! Research and Member of Technical Staff at at&t Labs. Sihem is PC chair for SIGMOD 2023 and vice president of the VLDB Endowment. She currently leads the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative for the database community. 
Professor Amer-Yahia is a Visiting Research Professor, under the Visiting Research Professors Scheme for the year 2020-23 hosted by Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong.


Professor Reynold Cheng
Associate Director @ the Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science; Professor @ Department of Computer Science, HKU

Professor Reynold Cheng is a Professor of the Department of Computer Science in the University of Hong Kong (HKU). His research interests are in data science, big graph analytics and uncertain data management. He was the Assistant Professor in the Department of Computing of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) from 2005 to 2008. He received his BEng (Computer Engineering) in 1998, and MPhil (Computer Science and Information Systems) in 2000 from HKU. He then obtained his MSc and PhD degrees from Department of Computer Science of Purdue University in 2003 and 2005.

Prof. Cheng has received numerous academic awards, and he is also the Associate Director of the Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science. For full biography of Prof. Cheng, please browse:

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