Invited Talk by Emine Yilmaz

On Friday October 16, 16:00-17:00, Emine Yilmaz (University College London, Microsoft Research Cambridge) will give a talk entitled “Task-based Information Retrieval”. Abstract: The need for search often arises from a person’s need to achieve a goal, or a task such as booking travels, organizing a wedding, buying a house, investing in the stock market, etc. Since current search engines focus on retrieving documents relevant to the query submitted as opposed to understanding and supporting the underlying information needs (or tasks) that have led a person to submit the query, search engine users often have to submit multiple queries to achieve a single information need. For example, booking travels to a location such as London would require the user to submit various different queries such as flights to London, hotels in London, points of interest around London as all of these queries are related to possible subtasks the user might have to perform in order to arrange their travels.
Ideally, a search engine should be able to understand the reason that caused the user to submit a query (i.e., the actual task that caused the query to be issued), and rather than just showing results relevant to the query submitted, it should help the user achieve the actual task by guiding her through the steps (or subtasks) that need to be completed.
Devising task based information retrieval systems have been the recent focus of my research group. In this talk, I will talk about the progress we have made in this direction. In particular, I will talk about (1) methodologies for extracting and modelling tasks using query logs, (2) personalizing search results based on task based representations of users, and (3) The Tasks Track, which focuses on evaluating the quality of task based IR systems.