Karen Spärck Jones
|Karen Spärck Jones|
Karen Spärck Jones in 2002
26 August 1935|
|Died||4 April 2007
|Institutions||University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory|
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge|
|Thesis||Synonymy and Semantic Classiﬁcation (1964)|
|Doctoral advisor||Richard Braithwaite|
|Known for||work on information retrieval and natural language processing, in particular her probabilistic model of document and text retrieval|
|Notable awards||ACL Lifetime Achievement Award, BCS Lovelace Medal, ACM-AAAI Allen Newell Award, ACM SIGIR Salton Award, American Society for Information Science and Technology’s Award of Merit|
Karen Ida Boalth Spärck Jones was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England. Her father was Owen Jones, a lecturer in chemistry, and her mother was Ida Spärck, a Norwegian who moved to Britain during World War II. They left Norway on one of the last boats out after the German invasion in 1940. Spärck Jones was educated at a grammar school in Huddersfield and then Girton College, Cambridge from 1953 to 1956, reading History, with an additional final year in Moral Sciences (philosophy). She briefly became a school teacher, before moving into Computer Science. During her career in Computer Science, she campaigned hard for more women to enter computing. She was married to fellow Cambridge computer scientist Roger Needham until his death in 2003. She died 4 April 2007 at Willingham in Cambridgeshire.
She worked at the Cambridge Language Research Unit from the late 1950s, then at Cambridge's Computer Laboratory from 1974, and retired in 2002, holding the post of Professor of Computers and Information, which she was awarded in 1999. She continued to work in the Computer Laboratory until shortly before her death. Her main research interests, since the late 1950s, were natural language processing and information retrieval. One of her most important contributions was the concept of inverse document frequency (IDF) weighting in information retrieval, which she introduced in a 1972 paper. IDF is used in most search engines today, usually as part of the tf-idf weighting scheme. There is an annual BCS lecture named in her honour.
- Fellow of the British Academy, of which she was Vice-President in 2000–02
- Fellow of AAAI
- Fellow of ECCAI
- President of the Association for Computational Linguistics in 1994
- Gerard Salton Award (1988)
- ASIS&T Award of Merit (2002)
- ACL Lifetime Achievement Award (2004) 
- BCS Lovelace Medal (2007)
- ACM-AAAI Allen Newell Award (2007)
- Karen Spärck Jones (1986). Synonymy and Semantic Classification (thesis published as a book). Edinburgh Information Technology series 1. Edinburgh University Press.
- "Jones, Karen Ida Boalth Spärck (1935–2007), Computer Scientist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Tait, J. I. (2007). "Karen Spärck Jones". Computational Linguistics 33 (3): 289–291. doi:10.1162/coli.2007.33.3.289.
- Robertson, S.; Tait, J. (2008). "Karen Spärck Jones". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59 (5): 852. doi:10.1002/asi.20784.
- "Computer Laboratory obituary".
- Jones, K. S. (1972). "A Statistical Interpretation of Term Specificity and Its Application in Retrieval". Journal of Documentation 28: 11–21. doi:10.1108/eb026526.
- Tait, John I., ed. (2005). "Charting a New Course: Natural Language Processing and Information Retrieval, Essays in Honour of Karen Spärck Jones". The Kluwer International Series on Information Retrieval 16. doi:10.1007/1-4020-3467-9. ISBN 1-4020-3343-5.
- Jones, K. S. (1973). "Index term weighting". Information Storage and Retrieval 9 (11): 619–633. doi:10.1016/0020-0271(73)90043-0.
- Maybury, M. T. (2005). "Charting a New Course: Natural Language Processing and Information Retrieval". The Kluwer International Series on Information Retrieval 16. pp. 99–10. doi:10.1007/1-4020-3467-9_7. ISBN 1-4020-3343-5.
- "Karen Spärck Jones lecture". BCS Academy of Computing. British Computer Society. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- "ACL Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients". ACL wiki. ACL. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- Computer Science, A Woman's Work, IEEE Spectrum, May 2007
- Video: Natural Language and the Information Layer, Karen Spärck Jones, March 2007
- University of Cambridge obituary
- Obituary, The Independent, 12 April 2007[dead link]
- Obituary, The Daily Telegraph, 12 April 2007[dead link]
- Obituary, The Times, 22 June 2007 (subscription required)
|Awards and achievements|
|ACL Lifetime Achievement Award