Research at The IRLab Amsterdam is focused on information retrieval: technology to connect people to information. Our emphasis is on machine learning-based approaches. We follow a human-centered strategy, augmenting the abilities of, addressing the societal needs of, and drawing inspiration from people while advancing the state-of-the-art in information retrieval technology.

At The IRLab Amsterdam we work on search engines, recommender systems, and conversational assistants. We follow a data-driven, machine learning-based approach to contribute to fundamental knowledge in the area of information retrieval with new algorithms, new models, and new evaluation methodology. And we put a heavy emphasis on experimental validation of the algorithms, models and evaluation principles that we propose.

Our team also investigates the influence of the technology that we develop on society.

Labs, programs, and projects

We participate in a number of national and international labs, programs, and projects:

  • Current
    • Access – A project aimed at connecting to information shared by city councils using exploratory search, funded by NWO, jointly with the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam
    • AIRLab – A collaborative research and innovation lab with Ahold Delhaize (including Albert Heijn and, part of the ICAI ecosystem, on search, recommendation, and data engineering in the context of e-commerce
    • ArtDATIS – A project integration and improvement of sources on glass for a sustainable future by making collections searchable and information findable through robust entity linking
    • Automated Decision-Making and Society – A program funded by the Australian Research Council on creating knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making, hosted at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, with nodes located at eight other Australian universities, and partners around the world
    • ConverSE – A project on developing intelligent agents able to converse with users to accurately retrieve information in complex domains such as medical and legal
    • Discovery Lab – A collaborative innovation lab with Elsevier and the VU University, part of the ICAI ecosystem, on organizing and accessing (scientific) information
    • Dreams Lab – A collaborative research and innovation lab with Huawei Finland and the VU University, on next generation search and recommendation for consumer services
    • FINDHR – An EU-funded project on fairness and intersectional non-discrimination in human recommendation
    • Hybrid Intelligence – A so-called zwaartekracht program on methods for human-AI collaborations, funded by NWO, and with a large number of knowledge institutes around the Netherlands
    • LESSEN – A project funded by NWO, Achmea, Ahold Delhaize, Albert Heijn,, KPN, Rasa, in the NWA-ORC program on low-resource chat-based conversational intelligence
    • Mercury Machine Learning Lab – A collaborative research and innovation lab with and Delft University of Technology, part of the ICAI ecosystem, on learning from controlled sources
    • Police AI Lab – A collaborative research and innovation lab with the Landelijke Politie, Delft University of Technology, and Utrecht University, part of the ICAI ecosystem, on methods for searching and understanding large volumes of multimedia data
    • Re-Search – A project on dataset search funded by NWO and Elsevier, jointly with the VU University and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
    • SafeMode – An EU project on mining noisy aviation and maritime incident reports
  • Past
    • CLEAR – A project on learning to rank, funded by a TOP1 grant from NWO, which ran until 2021 and supported Chang Li, Harrie Oosterhuis, and Rolf Jagerman
    • MediaNow – A project on narrative search to support the creative process, funded by NWO and Beeld en Geluid, which ran until 2021 and supported Jasmijn van Gorp, Ilya Markov, and Nikos Voskarides
    • NEWEL – A project on AI for social good, mostly in the context of workers’ well-being, funded by NWO and Ahold Delhaize, with Erasmus University Rotterdam and University of Twente, which ran until 2022 and supported Ana Lucic, Indy Wijngaards, and Owen King