Going beyond IBM’s Watson: Computer-based question answering gets into the next round. An almost double number of participants in the BioASQ competition over last year shows the importance of the topic.

Sheffield, 16 of September 2014. BioASQ, a project aiming to get closer to the vision of machines that can answer our questions aims to bring together the best of the best in automated semantic indexing and question answering in the biomedical domain. It started in October 2012 and it is funded by the European Commission as a support action. BioASQ’s major goal is to foster the development and application of computer-based semantic intelligence technologies to help researchers and medical doctors get answers to medical questions faster and more precisely. 

To find the best in the field, BioASQ runs a challenge where participants compete against each other. The second round of the competition started 3rd of February 2014 and contained two different tasks: (Task A) Large-scale online biomedical semantic indexing, and (Task B) biomedical semantic QA. In total 216 users and 142 systems registered to the automated evaluation system in order to participate in the challenge; 28 teams (with 95 systems) finally submitted their suggested solutions and answers. This is an increase of almost 100% over 2013. The final results were presented at the BioASQ workshop in the Cross Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF), which took place between September 23 and 26 in Sheffield, U.K.. The results are available at the BioASQ Web site 

The Award for Semantic Intelligence, sponsored by Transinsight, was handed over to the participants who took part in all tasks and achieved the best overall results. This year’s winners are Yuqing Mao, Chih-Hsuan Wei, Zhiyong Lu from NIH / NLM / NCBI. “We are very pleased to hand over the second Award for Semantic Intelligence to this team since they pushed the limits in the area of Semantic Indexing and Question Answering again to a new level. Demonstrating the overall best performance shows an outstanding ability in natural language processing. Our warmest congratulations!” said Dr. Michael R. Alvers, CEO of Transinsight.

Source: press release of BioASQ and Transinsight from 10/8/14

BioASQ aims to push for a solution to the information access problem of biomedical experts through challenges on biomedical semantic indexing and question answering. FP7/2007-2013, grant agreement n° 318652.  Internet:

Transinsight develops knowledge-based solutions. Their semantic software platform Enterprise Semantic Intelligence® powers the knowledge-based search systems and, semantic search engines for the next generation. In acknowledgement of the technologies developed by the company, Transinsight has repeatedly been honored with international awards amongst others the reddot design award - communication design - best of the best 2009, the German Industry Prize 2010, the German Innovation Prize IT 2011 and the Detecon ICT Award 2012. The firm works in close collaboration with the Dresden University of Technology. Selected customers are: Unilever, BASF, BfR, Statoil, RWE, Abcam und EMBL. Internet: