Design of Experimental Search & Information REtrieval Systems

15-18 September 2020, Venice, Italy


DESIRES is a biennial retreat-like systems-oriented conference emphasizing the innovative technological aspects of search and retrieval systems.

DESIRES gathers researchers and practitioners from both academia and industry to discuss the latest innovative and visionary ideas in the field.

DESIRES mainly encourages papers about innovative and risky information access and retrieval system ideas, systems-building experience and insight, resourceful experimental studies, provocative position statements, and new application domains.

Key facts

DESIRES is a single-track conference.

DESIRES invites two kinds of contributions: full papers (up to 6 pages) and abstracts (1 page).

To encourage authors to submit only their best work, each person can be an author or co-author of only a single full paper. That is, authors can submit only 1 (one) paper. Any author of a paper or prototype demo may additionally submit one abstract. Abstracts are expected to have a single author.

Call for Papers


DESIRES is a single-track conference. To encourage authors to submit only their best work, each person can be an author or co-author of only a single paper or prototype. That is, authors can submit only 1 (one) paper. Plus, a paper author may also submit 1 (one) abstract or an open problem in IR.

DESIRES welcomes contributions focusing on implementation details, successful or failed reproducibility attempts, technological breakthroughs and new uses of old ideas.

Running prototypes and war stories are more than welcome.

Industrial and "real-world" experiences play a central role in DESIRES. For instance, papers discussing how well-established research ideas are implemented and used in commercial products are encouraged.

Submission Guidelines

More information about the contributions accepted are coming soon.

DESIRES invites four kinds of contributions:

  • Papers (up to 6 pages + references). Papers usually lack rigorous frameworks, simulations of performance, or prototype implementations but present a radical departure from conventional approaches that enables new applications. Accepted full papers will typically be presented in 20 minutes with (at least) 10 minutes for questions and discussion. There will be a discussant for each paper that will read the paper in advance and prepare questions (plus questions from the audience). DESIRES values discussion, so we'll avoid to say "you may want to discuss this off-line".
  • Prototypes (up to 4 pages + references). The prototype descriptions generally are a detailed report on successes and mistakes. Accepted prototype papers will typically be presented in 10 minutes with 5 minutes for questions and discussion.
  • Abstracts (1 page + references). Ideas that are too half-baked for a paper or demo proposal are good candidates for an abstract. Any author of a paper or prototype demo may additionally submit one abstract. Abstracts are expected to have a single author. Accepted abstracts are presented in a gong-show style.
  • Open Problems in IR (up to 2 pages + references). This is a new track. We are looking for abstract-like papers framing an important but unsolved problem in IR. "Open-Problems" papers are expected to have a single author. Any author of a paper, prototype demo, or abstract may additionally submit one "Open-Problems" paper.

All papers must be original and not simultaneously submitted to another journal or conference.

Submissions of papers must be in English, in PDF format, and in the current ACM two-column conference format. Suitable LaTeX, Word, and Overleaf templates are available from the ACM Website (use the \“sigconf\” proceedings template). Papers should be submitted electronically via the conference submission system.


The accepted (and presented) papers will be published as CEUR-WS proceedings freely available on-line: (Indexed by DBLP and Scopus). Modified or incremental versions of the papers included in the DESIRES proceedings can be submitted to other venues.
The scope of DESIRES is discussing ideas, not tying them.

Important Dates

Submission deadline:
24 April 2020, AoE
29 May 2020, AoE
30 June 2020, AoE
15-18 September 2020


Speaker 1

Brian Johnson

Head of Search Engineering at Apple

Brian Johnson (Apple, USA)

Title: Apple Media Products Search


The Apple Media Products Search Team powers search for App Store, iTunes, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books, and Podcasts across multiple platforms (iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, Web, Windows, Android) . App Store Search is used by millions of users daily serving over 1 billion requests a week across 150 countries and 40 languages. This scale and diversity offers incredible opportunities to improve search and solve challenging problems in information retrieval, ranking , query understanding, machine learning at scale, high performance computing and large scale systems design.

This talk covers three main topics.

Query Understanding

Brian will discuss what is necessary to have a deep understanding of our developers, their inventory, our users, and their intents and interests. Understanding user’s query intent is first step in Search. We need robust and scalable query understanding systems to correctly detect the intent of a user's query. Traditional Natural Language Processing techniques are important in query understanding, as are behavioral data mining, and newer deep learning techniques such as query embedding. Statistical query refinements allow us to learn synonyms, aliases, and nicknames.

Ranking beyond text

With this rich understanding of our users, queries, and inventory , we are working to build next generation search ranking for Apple Media Products. Some of the challenges we face include language processing, shifting inventory, and fraud prevention. When searching the App Store, users are presented with content that matches their query as well as content that matches the intent of their query.


How do we know how good we are? A robust evaluation platform helps us answer this question using well defined IR metrics for precision and recall. The ideas teams develop go through rigorous offline and online evaluations to predict how changes will perform in the wild. This allows for an agile development process. Ongoing loss pattern analysis drives continuous improvement.


Don Orione Artigianelli, Venice, Italy

The conference is residential (retreat-like) meaning that participants can be accommodated within the conference venue. We can also provide discounted prices and suggestions for hotels nearby.

Don Orione Artigianelli offers the following accommodation (breakfast included), prices per night:

  • single room: € 109,00
  • double room/single use: € 157,00
  • double room: € 188,00
  • triple room: € 238,00
  • quadruple room: € 287,00

There is a limited number of rooms within the conference venue. A FIFO assignment policy is adopted; priority is given to paper authors.


The venue is located in Sestiere Dorsoduro (hard ridge), on the wide Calle connecting Canal Grande by Gallerie dell’Accademia – which contains masterpieces of Venetian painters up to the 18th century, among them Giorgione, Carpaccio and Bellini – to the quayside Zattere and its wonderful walk along Giudecca Canal.

Through a small calle, in few minutes you can reach the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, or by crossing the Accademia Bridge in about 20 minutes, going through the most beautiful and exclusive shopping streets, you can reach the heart of Venice: St Mark’s Square.

Or by boat (vaporetto) you can reach in about 10 minutes, from Accademia stop, St Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge with its typical fish market.

For more information about how to get to Venice by plane, train, car or boat, please go here: Get to Venice.

Don Orione Artigianelli, Venice, Italy

In an atmosphere of ancient times, DESIRES takes place in an old monastery, restored and equipped with the latest technology. The centre "Don Orione Artigianelli" offers the opportunity to stay in a private and quiet place in the city centre of Venice, behind Gallerie dell’Accademia with direct overview on the Zattere quayside and on Giudecca Canal.

The entire building develops around three cloisters of 18th century and one cloister of 15th century near our Church of Santa Maria della Visitazione. Thanks to its vastness, its architecture, its gardens, its silence, our Center is an oasis inside the town: here even the rooms tell and create an atmosphere, by raising emotions.


General Chairs

Omar Alonso (Curai, USA)
Marc Najork (Google, USA)
Gianmaria Silvello (University of Padua, Italy)

Advisory Board

Maristella Agosti (University of Padua, Italy)
Ricardo Baeza-Yates (NTENT, USA; UPF, Spain; Univ. de Chile)
Bruce Croft (University of Massachusetts, USA)
J. Shane Culpepper (RMIT University, Australia)
Susan Dumais (Microsoft, USA)
Norbert Fuhr (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
Donna Harman (NIST, USA)
Kalervo Jarvelin (University of Tampere, Finland)
Jan Pedersen (eBay, USA)
Gerhard Weikum (MPI, Germany)

Program Committee

Dyaa Albakour (Signal Media, UK)
James Allan (University of Massachusetts, USA)
Leif Azzopardi (University of Strathclyde, UK)
Krisztian Balog (University of Stavanger, Norway)
Alessandro Benedetti (Sease, UK)
B. Barla Cambazoglu (RMIT University, Australia)
Diego Ceccarelli (Bloomberg L.P., UK)
Nick Craswell (Microsoft, USA)
Jeff Dalton (University of Glasgow, UK)
Arjen de Vries (Radboud University, The Netherlands)
Nicola Ferro (University of Padua, Italy)
Dennis Fetterly (Google, USA)
Evgeniy Gabrilovich (Google, USA)
Paul Groth (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Parth Gupta (Amazon, USA)
Claudia Hauff (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)
Panos Ipeirotis (New York University, USA)
Vasileios Kandylas (Microsoft, USA)
Evangelos Kanoulas (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Jussi Karlgren (Gavagai and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
Emre Kiciman (Microsoft, USA)
Matthew Lease (University of Texas at Austin, USA)
Dave Lewis (Brainspace, A Cyxtera Business, USA)
Jimmy Lin (University of Waterloo, Canada)
Craig Macdonald (University of Glasgow, UK)
Maria Maistro (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Edgar Meij (Bloomberg L.P., UK)
Donald Metzler (Google, USA)
Nicola Montecchio (Spotify, Germany)
Jeremy Pickens (Catalyst Repository Systems, USA)
Paolo Rosso (Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain)
Tony Russell-Rose (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)
Tetsuya Sakai (Waseda University, Japan)
Sunita Sarawagi (IIT Bombay, India)
Ian Soboroff (NIST, USA)
Damiano Spina (RMIT University, Australia)
Paul Thomas (Microsoft, USA)
Andrew Trotman (University of Otago, Australia)
Christophe Van Gysel (Apple Inc., USA)
Olivier Van Laere (Apple Inc., USA)
Ingmar Weber (Qatar Computing Research Institute, Qatar)
Wouter Weerkamp (904Labs, The Netherlands)
Cong Yu (Google, USA)
Hamed Zamani (Microsoft, USA)
Justin Zobel (The University of Melbourne, Australia)


The complete program will be defined in June 2020

All the events will take place at the conference venue.


Welcome reception

Welcome reception




Full conference day

There will be about four sessions, two coffee breaks and lunch.



Dinner will be served for all the participants in the cloister of the conference venue.




Full conference day

There will be about four sessions, two coffee breaks and lunch.


Social activity

We'll stroll around Venice, do some sightseeing or something else to be planned.


Social dinner

Dinner will take place in the city centre.




Half conference day

There will be about two sessions and one coffee break.


Subscribe to the DESIRES Google group.


Registration shall open in May 2020.