Active Information Retrieval

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 14 (NIPS 2001)

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Tommi Jaakkola, Hava Siegelmann


In classical large information retrieval systems, the system responds to a user initiated query with a list of results ranked by relevance. The users may further refine their query as needed. This process may result in a lengthy correspondence without conclusion. We propose an alternative active learning approach, where the sys(cid:173) tem responds to the initial user's query by successively probing the user for distinctions at multiple levels of abstraction. The system's initiated queries are optimized for speedy recovery and the user is permitted to respond with multiple selections or may reject the query. The information is in each case unambiguously incorporated by the system and the subsequent queries are adjusted to minimize the need for further exchange. The system's initiated queries are subject to resource constraints pertaining to the amount of infor(cid:173) mation that can be presented to the user per iteration.