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Keynote Lecture


The Evolution of Search Over Structured Data

Georgia Koutrika
Athena Research Center

Brief Bio
Dr. Georgia Koutrika is Director of Research at Athena Research Center in Greece. She has worked at HP Labs, at IBM Research-Almaden, and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Computer Science Dept., Stanford University. She has received a PhD and a diploma in Computer Science from the University of Athens in Greece. Her work is on data exploration, recommendation systems, user analytics, and large-scale information extraction and information integration. It has been incorporated in commercial products, described in 8 granted patents and 18 patent applications in the US and worldwide, and published in more than 80 research papers in top-tier conferences and journals. She is an IEEE Senior member, ACM member, ACM Distinguished Speaker, and ACM SIGMOD Associate Information Director. She serves in various roles in the program committees of top-tier conferences, including as Associate Editor for VLDB 2019 and 2020, Demo PC co-chair for ACM SIGMOD 2018, General Co-Chair for ACM SIGMOD 2016, Industrial Track PC Chair for EDBT 2016, and Workshop and Tutorial Co-Chair for IEEE ICDE 2016.

Structured query languages (e.g., SQL) are indispensable tools for many kinds of users, e.g., advanced searchers, database administrators, and SQL programmers. However, it is hard and tedious for inexperienced users to pose structured queries, since they are not proficient in writing in these query languages and they do not have a thorough understanding of the data schema.

Given the current trend for data democratization, modern search interfaces over structured data aim at supporting free-form (keyword or natural language) queries. In fact, building natural language interfaces for databases has been one of the "holy grails" of the database community since its early days. With a wealth of efforts coming not just from the database but also from the machine learning, natural language processing and programming languages communities, a rich and heterogeneous space of solutions is shaped. In this talk, we will see the evolution of search over structured data and talk about several exciting problems and directions that are opening for research as we move towards truly conversational search interfaces over data.