Awards for the first BioASQ challenge

Athens, February 2014

BioASQ, a project aiming to push technology closer to the vision of machines that can answer our questions, was initiated by a consortium of six European partners in October 2012. The project aims to bring together the best of the best in automated semantic indexing and question answering in the biomedical domain.

To find the best in the field, BioASQ runs a challenge where participants can compete against each other. The first round of the challenge started on the 22nd of April 2013 and comprised two different tasks: Large-scale biomedical semantic indexing (Task 1a), and biomedical semantic question answering (Task 1b).

In total 117 users and 73 systems registered to the automated evaluation system in order to participate in the challenge; 46 of them finally submitted their suggested solutions and answers. The final official results are available at the Web site of the project.

The Awards went to the following teams

  • Task 1a (Large-scale biomedical semantic indexing):
    • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and (USA)
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information, NLM (USA)
  • Task 1b (Biomedical semantic question answering):
    • University of Alberta (Canada)
    • Mayo Clinic (USA)
    • Toyota Technological Institute (Japan)
  • Best Overall Contribution:
    • University of Alberta (Canada)

"Search was yesterday. Getting answers is tomorrow. And – as we have impressively seen at BioASQ – it is on today already in one of the most complex domains we have: bio-medicine. It is great to see steep progress so fast!", says Dr. Michael Alvers of Transinsight GmbH.

One of the invited speakers and renowned experts in the field, Dr. Alan Roy Aronson of the National Library of Medicine (USA), stated: "One of the challenging tasks that BioASQ has set for the participating systems is the indexing of MEDLINE citations with MeSH terms. We are actively supporting this task [...]. We are looking forward to next year's challenge!"

We are particularly happy about the interest that BioASQ has generated and we are looking forward to the upcoming years. The 2014 BioASQ challenge has just started in February 2014 and results will be announced at the CLEF Conference, 15-18 September 2014, in Sheffield (UK).

About BioASQ

The BioASQ team combines researchers with complementary expertise from 6 organisations in 3 countries: the Greek National Center for Scientific Research "Demokritos" (coordinator), participating with its Institutes of 'Informatics & Telecommunications' and 'Biosciences & Applications', the German IT company Transinsight GmbH, the French University Joseph Fourier, the German research Group for Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web at the University of Leipzig, the French University Pierre et Marie Curie‐Paris 6 and the Department of Informatics of the Athens University of Economics and Business in Greece (visit the BioASQ project partners page). Moreover, biomedical experts from several countries assist in the creation of the evaluation data and a number of key players in the industry and academia from around the world participate in the advisory board of the project.

BioASQ started in October 2012 and is funded by the European Commission as a support action (FP7/2007-2013: Intelligent Information Management, Targeted Competition Framework; grant agreement n° 318652). More information can be found at: Project Coordinator: George Paliouras (