Real-Time Summarization (RTS) is a new track at the 2016 Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) that represents a merger of the Microblog (MB) track, which ran from 2010 to 2015, and the Temporal Summarization (TS) track, which ran from 2013 to 2015. The creation of RTS is designed to leverage synergies between the two tracks in exploring prospective information needs over document streams containing novel and evolving information. The 2016 task represents an extension of the real-time filtering task in the TREC 2015 Microblog Track.

The track organizers are: Fernando Diaz (Microsoft Research), Jimmy Lin (University of Waterloo), Richard McCreadie (University of Glasgow), Adam Roegiest (University of Waterloo), and Luchen Tan (University of Waterloo).

Interest profiles (i.e., topics) for 2016:

What problems are we trying to solve?

There is emerging interest in systems that automatically monitor streams of social media posts such as Twitter to keep users up to date on topics they care about. We might think of these topics as “interest profiles”, specifying the user’s prospective information needs. For example, the user might be interested in poll results for the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and wishes to be notified whenever new results are published. We can imagine two methods for disseminating updates:

Scenario A: Push notifications. As soon as the system identifies a relevant post, it is immediately sent to the user’s mobile phone via a push notification. At a high level, push notifications should be relevant (on topic), timely (provide updates as soon after the actual event occurrence as possible), and novel (users should not be pushed multiple notifications that say the same thing).

Scenario B: Email digest. Alternatively, a user might want to receive a daily email digest that summarizes “what happened” that day with respect to the interest profiles. At a high level, these results should be relevant and novel; timeliness is not particularly important, provided that the tweets were all posted on the previous day.

General Evaluation Setup

The basic setup of the evaluation is described by the following figure:

The evaluation will occur from August 2, 2016 00:00:00 UTC to August 11, 2016 23:59:59 UTC. During this time, all participating systems will “listen” to the Twitter sample stream using the Twitter streaming API and perform the evaluation tasks in real time. Systems will be provided a list of “interest profiles” (similar to topics in ad hoc retrieval) representing users’ information needs.

For scenario A (push notifications), content that is identified as relevant by a system based on the user’s interest profile in real-time will be pushed to the TREC RTS evaluation broker (via a REST API). These notifications will be immediately delivered to the mobile phones of a group of assessors.

For scenario B (email digest), at the end of the evaluation period, participants will upload a list of tweets to NIST servers for evaluation.

For details, refer to the official TREC 2016 RTS guidelines.