David Hawking


I'm a retired (as of 16 March 2018) Information Retrieval researcher based in Canberra, Australia. Most recently I was an Applied Researcher in the Bing (Microsoft) team.

I was a member of the editorial board for the Information Retrieval journal (IRJ) for all of its first 20 volumes. I hold an honorary professorship in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University.


From 2008 to 2013 I worked at the Funnelback enterprise search company in the role of Chief Scientist.

Between 1998 and 2008 I was a research scientist at CSIRO.

From 1996 to 2003 I was a coordinator of VLC and Web tracks in the annual Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).  The activities of these tracks are summarised in Chapter 9 of the MIT Press book (Ellen M. Voorhees and Donna K. Harman (Ed.s), TREC - Experiment and Evaluation in Information Retrieval, ISBN 0262220733.). From 2007 to 2011 I was a member of the Scientific Board of the Information Retrieval Facility in Vienna. I was a Program Chair of ACM SIGIR in 2003 and again in 2006.  In 2003 I was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. In 2005 I was awarded the Chris Wallace prize for Computer Science research at the Australasian Computer Science Week. In 2012 I was named as joint winner of the Tony Kent Strix award.


Well into my retirement I realised that my love of research and writing (both English and code) had not expired with cessation of paid employment. In 2019/2020 I wrote a lot of code, which led to the first book, a research monograph, in the list below.

Simulating Information Retrieval Test Collections

By David Hawking, Bodo Billerbeck, Paul Thomas and Nick Craswell, published by Morgan & Claypool (royalties to Médecins Sans Frontières).

The History of ANU Computing: A Cast of Characters; An Array of Machines; A Record of Achievement

By David Hawking. A history of computing at ANU compiled to mark the 50th anniversary (on 02 March, 2021) of undergraduate Computer Science teaching at ANU.

Europe on Five Ideas a Day

By David Hawking. A travel book mostly written in 1991 about European trips in 1979, 1982 and 1985. Although now much less useful as a guide, the book is even more interesting due to the massive changes which have occurred in the 40+ years since the first journey. Released in 2020 after addition of many photographs, a preface, and an afterword. Available for free download in pdf and ePub formats.