Posts Tagged ‘information retrieval’

Socio-Semantic Conversational Information Access

The main contributions of this thesis revolve around development of an integrated conversational recommendation system, combining data and information models with community network and interactions to leverage multi-modal information access. We have developed a real time conversational information access community agent that leverages community knowledge by pushing relevant recommendations to users of the community. The recommendations are delivered in the form of web resources, past conversation and people to connect to. The information agent (cobot, for community/ collaborative bot) monitors the community conversations, and is ‘aware’ of users’ preferences by implicitly capturing their short term and long term knowledge models from conversations. The agent leverages from health and medical domain knowledge to extract concepts, associations and relationships between concepts; formulates queries for semantic search and provides socio-semantic recommendations in the conversation after applying various relevance filters to the candidate results. The agent also takes into account users’ verbal intentions in conversations while making recommendation decision.

One of the goals of this thesis is to develop an innovative approach to delivering relevant information using a combination of social networking, information aggregation, semantic search and recommendation techniques. The idea is to facilitate timely and relevant social information access by mixing past community specific conversational knowledge and web information access to recommend and connect users with relevant information. Language and interaction creates usable memories, useful for making decisions about what actions to take and what information to retain.

Cobot leverages these interactions to maintain users’ episodic and long term semantic models. The agent analyzes these memory structures to match and recommend users in conversations by matching with the contextual information need. The social feedback on the recommendations is registered in the system for the algorithms to promote community preferred, contextually relevant resources. The nodes of the semantic memory are frequent concepts extracted from user’s interactions. The concepts are connected with associations that develop when concepts co-occur frequently. Over a period of time when the user participates in more interactions, new concepts are added to the semantic memory. Different conversational facets are matched with episodic memories and a spreading activation search on the semantic net is performed for generating the top candidate user recommendations for the conversation.

The tying themes in this thesis revolve around informational and social aspects of a unified information access architecture that integrates semantic extraction and indexing with user modeling and recommendations.

Read the dissertation:

Socio-Semantic Conversational Information Access

by Saurav Sahay

PhD dissertation, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, November 2011.


Crowdsourcing: From Phenomenon to Business Model

Crowdsourcing is changing both the way we work, as well as the way Internet applications are designed and delivered. It’s no longer just the domain of technologists (who can now achieve breakthroughs together never before achievable); crowdsourcing is now ripe for enterprise professionals to understand and leverage the possibilities for their business goals.

From Wikipedia and YouTube, crowdsourcing has moved to a $5B “crowd worker” industry with applications proliferating for productivity, research, marketing, advertising, creative development, corporate workflow management, language translations, and much more — see a list of projects here.

I discuss social networks as a kind of crowdsourcing, with unique benefits and challenges.

Invited panel presentation at PARC Forum, Palo Alto, CA, November 10, 2011

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Open Social Learning Communities

With the advent of open education resources, social networking technologies and new pedagogies for online and blended learning, we are in the early stages of a significant disruption in current models of education. The disruption is fueled by a staggering growth in demand. It is estimated that there will be 100 million students qualified to enter universities over the next decade. To educate them, a major university would need to be created every week.

Universities have responded to this need with Open Education Resources—thousands of free, high quality courses, developed by hundreds of faculty, used by millions worldwide. Unfortunately, online courseware does not offer a supporting learning experience or the engagement needed to keep students motivated. Students read less when using e-textbooks; video lectures are boring; and retention and course completion rates are low.

Therein lies the core problem: How to engage a generation of learners who live on the Internet yet tune out of school, who seek interaction on Facebook yet find none on iTunes U, who need community yet are only offered content. We propose a new approach to this problem: open social learning communities, anchored with open content, providing an interactive online study group experience akin to sitting with study buddies on a world-wide campus quad.

This solution is enabled by state-of-the-art web technologies: really real-time collaboration technologies for a highly interactive experience; intelligent recommender systems to help learners connect with relevant content and other learners; mining and analytics to assess learner outcomes; and reputation techniques to establish social capital.  We will discuss these technologies and how they can be combined to address the problem of education in a manner that is highly scalable yet interactive and engaging.

This approach can be used for other types of learning communities. We will show an application to healthcare information access to help consumers learn about their healthcare questions and needs.

Keynote talk at SIPA Conference: Entrepreneurship—Idea Wave 3.0, Mountain View, CA, November 12, 2011.
Keynote talk at the International Conference on Web Intelligence, Mining and Semantics (WIMS-11), Sogndal, Norway, May 27, 2011.

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Intentional analysis of medical conversations for community engagement

With an explosion in the proliferation of user-generated content in communities, information overload is increasing and quality of readily available online content is deteriorating. There is an increasing need for intelligent systems that make use of implicit user-generated knowledge in communities for community engagement. We describe our approach based on modeling user utterances in communities to proactively target the community for exchange of questions and answers. We envision a system that automatically encourages user engagement and participation by routing relevant conversations to users based on individual and community activity levels.

In this paper, we analyze health forum conversations from WebMD, a popular health portal consumer site, and classify them in different acts of speech using Verbal Response Modes (VRM) theory. We describe our approach for modeling an intelligent community recommender to engage participants based on observations from our analysis.

Read the paper:

Intentional analysis of medical conversations for community engagement

by Saurav Sahay, Hua Ai, Ashwin Ram

FLAIRS-11 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Conversational Framework for Web Search and Recommendations

We introduce a Conversational Interaction framework as an innovative and natural approach to facilitate easier information access by combining web search and recommendations. This framework includes an intelligent information agent (Cobot) in the conversation to provide contextually relevant social and web search recommendations. Cobot supports the information discovery process by integrating web information retrieval along with proactive connections to relevant users who can participate in real-time conversations. We describe the conversational framework and report on some preliminary experiments in the system.

Read the paper:

Conversational Framework for Web Search and Recommendations

by Saurav Sahay, Ashwin Ram

ICCBR-10 Workshop on Reasoning from Experiences on the Web (WebCBR-10), Alessandria, Italy, 2010.

Collaborative Information Access: A Conversational Search Approach

Knowledge and user-generated content is proliferating on the web in scientific publications, information portals and online social media. This knowledge explosion has continued to outpace technological innovation in efficient information access technologies. In this paper, we describe methods and technologies for “Conversational Search” as an innovative solution to facilitate easier information access and reduce the information overload for users.

Conversational Search is an interactive and collaborative information finding interaction. The participants in this interaction engage in social conversations aided with an intelligent information agent (Cobot) that provides contextually relevant search recommendations. The collaborative and conversational search activity helps users make faster and more informed search and discovery. It also helps the agent learn about conversations with interactions and social feedback to make better recommendations. Conversational search leverages the social discovery process by integrating web information retrieval along with the social interactions.

Read the paper:

Collaborative Information Access: A Conversational Search Approach

by Saurav Sahay, Anu Venkatesh, Ashwin Ram

ICCBR-09 Workshop on Reasoning from Experiences on the Web (WebCBR-09), Seattle, July 2009

Using Content Analysis to Investigate The Research Paths Chosen by Scientists over Time

We present an application of a clustering technique to a large original dataset of SCI publications which is capable at disentangling the different research lines followed by a scientist, their duration over time and the intensity of effort devoted to each of them. Information is obtained by means of software-assisted content analysis, based on the co-occurrence of words in the full abstract and title of a set of SCI publications authored by 650 American star-physicists across 17 years. We estimated that scientists in our dataset over the time span contributed on average to 16 different research lines lasting on average 3.5 years and published nearly 5 publications in each single line of research. The technique is potentially useful for scholars studying science and the research community, as well as for research agencies, to evaluate if the scientist is new to the topic and for librarians, to collect timely biographic information.

Read the paper:

Using Content Analysis to Investigate The Research Paths Chosen by Scientists over Time

by Chiara Franzoni, Chris Simpkins, Baoli Li, Ashwin Ram

Scientometrics journal 83(1):321-335, April 2010. (Earlier version in 1th International Conference on Scientometrics and Infometrics (ISSI-07), Madrid, Spain, June 2007.)