Professor Alistair Moffat

Research Interests

  • Data structures and algorithms for compression
  • Data structures and algorithms for string search
  • Information retrieval and web search

Personal webpage


Alistair Moffat completed a BSc(Honors) and PhD in 1979 and 1986 respectively, both at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Since then he has been a member of the academic staff at the University of Melbourne, where he holds an appointment as Professor of Computer Science (2002). Alistair was Head of the University's Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering for a five-year term from 2007 to 2011, and Associate Dean (Curriculum) in the Melbourne School of Engineering during the period 2007-2009.

Alistair has extensive research interests in the areas of text and index compression, source coding methods, and information retrieval. He is an author of three books (Managing Gigabytes, 1994 and 1999; Compression and Coding Algorithms, 2002; and Programming, Problem Solving and Abstraction with C, 2003); and of more than 150 refereed technical papers. Alistair has also served roles as Chair and Program Chair of a range of conferences, and as an Associate Editor of research journals, including Journal of Information Retrieval, and ACM Transactions on Information Systems.

Alistair was awarded an Australian Carrick Citation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the first round of these awards in 2006, and has also been recognized within the University for his teaching contributions. In 2010, he received a Teaching Award from the Melbourne School of Engineering for excellence in teaching, and in recognition of his role as principal architect of the School of Engineering's response to the Melbourne Model changes undertaken between 2006 and 2009.

Alistair has served a term on the ARC College of Experts (2003-2005); was a member of the 2012 New Zealand PBRF Panel; and has been a member of a wide range of review and accreditation committees, both internal and external to the University.

Recent Publications

  1. Moffat A. Huffman Coding. Encyclopedia of Algorithms. 2015. Editors: Kao M.
  2. Gog S, Moffat A, Petri M. On identifying phrases using collection statistics. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics). Springer Verlag. 2015, Vol. 9022.
  3. Moffat A, Bailey P, Scholer F, Thomas P. Assessing the Cognitive Complexity of Information Needs. 2014 Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS). The Association for Computing Machinery. 2014. Editors: Culpepper JS, Park L, Zuccon G.
  4. Moffat A. Compressing Integer Sequences. Encyclopedia of Algorithms. 2014.
  5. Gog S, Beller T, Moffat A, Petri M. From Theory to Practice: Plug and Play with Succinct Data Structures. 13th International Symposium on Experimental Algorithms (SEA). Springer International Publishing. 2014, Vol. 8504.
  6. Petri M, Moffat A, Wirth A. Graph Representations and Applications of Citation Networks. 2014 Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS). 2014. Editors: Culpepper JS, Park L, Zuccon G.
  7. Lu X, Moffat A, Culpepper JS. How Effective are Proximity Scores in Term Dependency Models?. 2014 Australasian Document Computing Symposium (ADCS). The Association for Computing Machinery. 2014. Editors: Culpepper JS, Park L, Zuccon G.
  8. Graham Y, Baldwin T, Moffat A, Zobel J. Is Machine Translation Getting Better over Time?. 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL). ACL Anthology. 2014.
  9. Gog S, Moffat A, Culpepper JS, Turpin A, Wirth A. Large-Scale Pattern Search Using Reduced-Space On-Disk Suffix Arrays. IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering. IEEE Computer Society. 2014, Vol. 26, Issue 8.
  10. Lim C, Moffat A, Wirth A. Lazy and Eager Approaches for the Set Cover Problem. Proceedings of the Thirty-Seventh Australasian Computer Science Conference. Australian Computer Society. 2014, Vol. 147.
  11. Canovas R, Moffat A, Turpin A. Lossy compression of quality scores in genomic data. Bioinformatics. Oxford University Press. 2014, Vol. 30, Issue 15.
  12. Thomas P, Moffat A, Bailey P, Scholer F. Modeling decision points in user search behavior. Proceedings of the 5th Information Interaction in Context Symposium, IIiX 2014. Association for Computing Machinery. 2014.
  13. Petri M, Moffat A, Culpepper JS. Score-Safe Term Dependency Processing With Hybrid Indexes. 37th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR). ACM Press. 2014.
  14. Gog S, Moffat A, Petri M. Strategic Pattern Search in Factor-Compressed Text. 21st International Symposium on String Processing and Information Retrieval. Springer. 2014, Vol. 8799.
  15. Moffat A, Gog S. String search experimentation using massive data. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A - Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. Royal Society of London. 2014, Vol. 372.

Alistair Moffat

Level: 09 Room: 9.26
Doug Mcdonell Building, Parkville
University of Melbourne
3010 Australia

T: +61 3 83441325
F: +61 3 93494596

View a full list of publications on the University of Melbourne’s ‘Find An Expert’ profile