On User Intent and Information Retrieval

Dr. Eugene Santos, Jr
Director of the Intelligent and Distributed Information Systems Laboratory at the University of Connecticut

User modeling techniques have been used to improve retrieval performance for information retrieval (IR) as early as the late 80s. However, such models are still often overly simplistic keyword vectors and remain static in nature.  In this talk, we describe the use and evaluation of a cognitive user model for information retrieval with regards to retrieval performance. Our user model captures user intent dynamically by analyzing behavioral information from the user's queries and retrieved relevant documents. In this evaluation, we assess the user model's short-term effects on a single query, and the user model's long-term effects on the whole search session. We compare our approach with the best traditional approach for relevance feedback in information retrieval, the Ide dec-hi, using the CRANFIELD collection. The results of this evaluation show that by exploring user intent, we achieve competitive performance in the feedback run compared to Ide dec-hi; at the same time our user model approach offers the advantages of retrieving more quality documents at the initial run compared to the traditional TF-IDF approach. Our results have shown that our user modeling approach can be used to improve efficiency, learnability and interactivity of an information retrieval system.

Eugene Santos, Jr. received a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Youngstown State University, M.S. in Mathematics -- Numerical Analysis from Youngstown State University, Sc.M. and Ph.D. ('92) degrees in Computer Science from Brown University.

He is currently Director of the Intelligent and Distributed Information Systems Laboratory at the University of Connecticut . He has over 120 refereed technical publications in journals and conferences. He has served or chaired many major conference program committees from intelligent agents to evolutionary computing. He is also an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics and the International Journal of Image and Graphics.