Prof. Dr. Frank Hopfgartner
Head of Institute
I am a Professor for Data Science at Universität Koblenz and Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield. In Koblenz, I lead the Institute for Web Science & Technologies and coordinate the MSc in Web and Data Science and BSc in Computational Social Science programmes.
My main research interest is in the intersection of human-centred artificial intelligence, data science, and computational social science. In particular, I am interested in understanding and modelling how data-driven systems (e.g., information retrieval and recommender systems) shape and influence people and society. Often, I collaborate with partners from industry or other disciplines interested in developing personalisation services or in gaining new insights into their data or society.
My work is underpinned by data mining, natural language processing, machine learning, and human-computer interaction techniques.
I am an active member of the research community, e.g., as steering committee member of the ECIR and ACM SIGIR ICTIR conferences, general chair of ACM CIKM'23 and ACM CHIIR'24, or as co-organiser of evaluation campaigns at CLEF, NTCIR, and MediaEval. I am on the editorial board of the IP&M journal and was guest editor for various special issues of other journals.
I have completed my PhD in Computing Science at University of Glasgow under the supervision of Prof. Joemon M. Jose and Prof. Keith van Rijsbergen. After this, I have worked at research-led science & engineering centres in the US and Ireland, as well as at universities in Germany, China, and the UK. Since 2022, I am a Senior Fellow of the (UK) Higher Education Academy.
My team deals with all aspects of the acquisition, management and analysis of data and information with the aim of extracting novel insights. In particular, we are interested in exploring how to generate insights from personal data and user-generated content. Often, the aim of the analysis of such data is to gain valuable insights into users’ opinions, interests, and behaviour, or to gain new insights into society.
Personal data relates to any information that a living person can be identified from. Example data that we have worked with in the past include healthcare data, digital cultural heritage records, users’ online transaction logs, or personal records generated by Wearable devices or self-tracking apps, referred to as Lifelogs. We are also interested in data organisation and privacy-aware data processing (e.g., in the form of Evaluation-as-a-Service).
User-generated content refers to text or audio-visual content that has been generated by users. For example, we have published work on the analysis of social media posts (e.g., for hate speech classification) and e-mails (to visualise communication patterns), and conducted a forensic analysis of files stored on individuals’ hard drives (to reconstruct creative working patterns).
Human-centred Artificial Intelligence
We study how artificial intelligence techniques can be employed to create more human-centred online experiences. We mainly concentrate on interactive Web systems (i.e., information retrieval and recommender systems) that assist users in coping with information overload caused by the availability of large amounts of data and information.
Information retrieval (IR) systems provide access to information relevant to their information need, usually expressed in the form of search queries. Web search engines are the most popular IR applications but they can also be found in more domain-specific scenarios, e.g., in enterprise settings, archives, or libraries. Our main contributions are in the fields of user modelling, interactive information retrieval, and in enhancing the search experience (e.g., via gamification).
Recommender Systems are information filtering systems that seek to predict user preferences for a set of items (such as books, movies, music, etc.). Recommender systems can often be found in the e-commerce sector where they are employed to recommend products to customers. We have contributed to advances in different recommendation domains (e.g., news or television recommendation) and stream-based recommendation. Further, we have promoted the first living lab for the evaluation of information access systems to support large-scale benchmarking.
Computational Social Science
We are interested in exploring societal challenges caused by the rise of data science and artificial intelligence. In the context of data-driven systems, we are studying issues related to fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics (FATE). We also focus on researching approaches for for socially responsible data science education.
Fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics can be seen as one of the grand challenges of data-driven systems. Prior research has shown that many algorithms that underlie modern personalisation systems are not transparent or neutral. They carry social values; some exhibit biases or systematically produce results that could lead to discrimination against certain people. My team is interested in studying the impact of information bias and in shedding light on the need for algorithmic transparency.
Socially responsible data science education involves raising people’s critical awareness of the power dynamics and potential social consequences of applied AI. We have made contributions in the development of a curriculum for human-centred data science programmes and studied issues related to bridging the digital divide in higher education.
My research projects are often interdisciplinary in nature to address research questions from different angles. Most recently, I have collaborated with professionals from the following sectors:
Healthcare (e.g., to predict adverse outcome of COVID-19 cases)
GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) (e.g., to process personal digital archives)
Information and Data Service Providers (e.g., to research personalised recommendation techniques)
Telecommunications (e.g., for predicting customer churn)
Arts and Humanities (e.g., to ease access to historic documents)
I take an active role in supervising the research efforts of my team, with the aim of enabling them to publish and present their work at leading academic conferences and journals.
I coordinate the research efforts at WeST Institute. For a more detailed overview of our research interests, I refer to my research overview.
Moreover, I am involved in the supervision of several PhD students at the Information School of University of Sheffield.
To date, I have supervised 100+ Bachelor and Master theses. In Koblenz, I supervise theses of students enrolled in programmes offered by the Department of Computer Science. Students interested in writing their thesis with me are advised to check the student handbook of WeST Institute on how to find a suitable topic.
I have supervised several PhD students to completion. My alumni have studied research challenges in the fields of natural language processing, Web Science, social media analysis, human-computer interaction, and related topics. According to the database of the Math Geneology Project they are now direct academic descendants of Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, and other renowned academics.
Moreover, I have managed several Postdocs and played host to international visiting academics.
Most of my publications can be downloaded from open access repositories. Older publications are archived in repositories of The University of Sheffield, The University of Glasgow, TU Berlin, Dublin City University, and of UC Berkeley.
I actively engage with the research community, e.g., by organising conferences, reviewing and assessing research contributions, or by building bridges between academics and practitioners.
ACM SIGIR International Conference on the Theory of Information Retrieval (since 2019)
European Conference on Information Retrieval (since 2017)
9th ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, Sheffield, UK (CHIIR'24)
32nd ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Birmingham, UK (CIKM'23)
First International Conference on Wearables in Healthcare, Budapest, Hungary (HealthWear’16)
13th International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo'22)
European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR'23): Demo Co-Chair
ACM Conference on Multimedia Retrieval (ICMR’20): Brave New Ideas Co-Chair
ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR’19): Demos and Resources Co-Chair
Annual Conference of the iSchool Organization (iConference’18): Poster Co-Chair
23rd International Conference on Multimedia Modeling (MMM’17): Demo Co-Chair
ACM Conference on Multimedia Retrieval 2014 (ICMR’14): Proceedings Co-Chair
20th International Conference on Multimedia Modeling (MMM’14): Special Session Co-Chair
18th International Conference on Multimedia Modeling (MMM’12): Demo Co-Chair
Member of technical program committees of 150+ conferences and workshops, including many editions of top-tier conferences such as ACM SIGIR, ACM RecSys, WWW, ACM Multimedia, CIKM, ECIR.
Workshops, tutorials, and evaluation campaigns
Co-organiser of 30+ workshops and tutorials at major conferences, e.g., on gamification (ACM SIGIR, ECIR, ACM CHI PLAY), quantified self (ACM UbiComp, ACM UMAP, ACM Hypertext, IEEE BIBM), lifelogging (ACM CHIIR, ACM Multimedia, IEEE ICME), news recommendation and retrieval (ACM RecSys, ECIR), real-time data processing and living lab evaluation (ACM RecSys, ECIR, IEEE ICME), and personalization and user modelling (ACM SIGIR, IIiX, UMAP).
Co-ordinator of evaluation campaigns to promote reproducible research, namely NTCIR MART (2020), NTCIR Lifelog (2015-2022), MediaEval NewsREEL Multimedia (2018), and CLEF NewsREEL (2014-2017)
Outreach and public engagement
Co-organiser of outreach events such as Search Solutions in London (funded by BCS), Ethics, Privacy, Transparency and Bias in Information Retrieval in Sheffield (funded by BCS), Digital Humanities meets Computer Science workshop in Glasgow (funded by Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance), Science Meeting on Lifelogging in Glasgow (funded by European Science Foundation).
Head of Academic Relations of the German-Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence (2019-2022)
Editorials and reviewing
Information Management & Processing Journal (Editorial Board since 2016)
User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction Journal (Guest Editor, 2020)
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Journal (Guest Editor, 2019)
Online Information Review Journal (Guest Editor, 2019)
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (Guest Editor, 2018)
ACM Inf Sys
Assessment and Examination
University College London (UCL)
University of Glasgow
University of Strathclyde
Queen’s University Belfast
Politecnico di Milano
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
University of Luxembourg
EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)
FWF (Austrian Science Fund)
NRC (Norwegian Research Council).
University of Surrey
University of Glasgow
I am frequently invited to present my research to different audiences. This includes talks to experts from various subject areas but also to the general public. I adapt the focus and language of my presentations based on the interests and prior knowledge of the audience.
To date, a majority of my presentations has been targeting technical audiences. For instance, I have given guest lectures or seminar talks at computer science departments or companies, as well as keynote presentations and invited talks at technical conferences and workshops, most of which were co-located with conferences sponsored by special interest groups of the ACM.
I have also presented to the general public and to academics and practitioners of other subject areas, e.g., at public lectures or at seminar talks organised by departments of digital humanities, philosophy, business, health science, or library, archives and information science.
Experiencing the COVID-19 Pandemic through the Lens of Google (at ACM IUI'22 workshop)
An Introduction to Retrieval and Reminiscence from Lifelog Archives at NTCIR (at ACM ICMR'22 workshop)
Promoting Algorithmic Transparency in Information Access (at Fairness and Ethics in IR Workshop, Glasgow, 2021)
Do you see what I see? Search Engines as a Lens of Life during the COVID-19 Pandemic (at ACM RecSys'21 workshop)
Recommender Systems and Brexit: Illustrating the Need for Transparent and Unbiased Information Access (at German-Chinese Association of Artificial Intelligence, 2019)
The Impact of Personalisation Services on Society (at ACM CIKM'19 workshop)
Stream-Based Recommendation: Observations and Solutions (at Intelligent Systems Lab, University of Bristol, 2018)
The Quantified Self as Testbed for Multimodal Information Retrieval (at IR Seminar, School of Computing, University of Glasgow, 2018)
News Retrieval and Recommendation Initiatives (at ACM CIKM'18 workshop)
Catching up with Industry - Online Evaluation of Information Access Systems (at FIRE'16 conference)
Capturing User Interests for Content-Based Recommendations (at ACM RecSys'15 workshop)
Setting up a Living Lab for Information Access Research (at Living Labs for IR Challenge Workshop, Amsterdam, 2014)
Benchmarking Recommender Systems in a Living Lab (at MediaEval'13 conference)
Bringing Information to Life: Multimodal Sensor Analysis (at Institute of Automation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China, 2012)
The Legacies of Stephen Dwoskin’s Personal Cinema Project as Testbed for Digital Humanities Research (at Digital Humanities Hub, University of Reading, 2022)
Information Bias and Algorithmic Transparency (at Alumni event of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2021)
Creating Digital Memories from Lifelogging and Quantified Self Data (at The British Museum, 2018)
Self-Tracking and Archiving (at The National Archives of the Netherlands, 2017)
Becoming a Quantified Self (at Department of Library Information and Archive Sciences, University of Malta, 2016)
The Role of Data in Information Science Research (at The ESRC Scottish Graduate School for Social Science, 2016)
Self-Tracking and the Future of Health Apps (at Digital Festival Brussels, 2016)
Lifelogging and the Ethics of Personal Computing (at School of Philosophy, Nankai University, 2015)
Facilitating Long-Term User Engagement (at Business School, Nankai University, 2015)
Technical Foundations of Multimedia Recommendation (at Filmstudios Babelsberg, 2014)