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.
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Socio-Semantic Conversational Information Access
by Saurav Sahay
PhD dissertation, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, November 2011.
Effective encoding of information is one of the keys to qualitative problem solving. Our aim is to explore Knowledge Representation techniques that capture meaningful word associations occurring in documents. We have developed iReMedI, a TCBR-based problem solving system as a prototype to demonstrate our idea. For representation we have used a combination of NLP and graph based techniques which we call as Shallow Syntactic Triples, Dependency Parses and Semantic Word Chains. To test their effectiveness we have developed retrieval techniques based on PageRank, Shortest Distance and Spreading Activation methods. The various algorithms discussed in the paper and the comparative analysis of their results provides us with useful insight for creating an effective problem solving and reasoning system.
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iReMedI – Intelligent Retrieval from Medical Information
by Saurav Sahay, Bharat Ravisekar, Anu Venkatesh, Sundaresan Venkatasubramanian, Priyanka Prabhu, Ashwin Ram
9th European Conference on Case-Based Reasoning (ECCBR-08), Trier, Germany
The knowledge explosion has continued to outpace technological innovation in search engines and knowledge management systems. It is increasingly difficult to find relevant information, not just on the World Wide Web at large but even in domain- specific medium-sized knowledge bases‚Äîonline helpdesks, maintenance records, technical repositories, travel databases, e-commerce sites, and many others. Despite advances in search and database technology, the average user still spends inordinate amounts of time looking for specific information needed for a given task.
This paper describes an adaptive system for the precise, rapid retrieval and synthesis of information from medium-sized knowledge bases in response to problem-solving queries from a diverse user population. We advocate a shift in perspective from “search” to “answers. Instead of returning dozens or hundreds of hits to a user, the system should attempt to find answers that may or may not match the query directly but are relevant to the user’s problem or task.
This problem has been largely overlooked as research has tended to concentrate on techniques for broad searches of large databases over the Internet (as exemplified by Google) and structured queries of well-defined databases (as exemplified by SQL). However, the problem discussed in this chapter is sufficiently different from these extremes to both present a novel set of challenges as well as provide a unique opportunity to apply techniques not traditionally found in the information retrieval literature. Specifically, we discuss an innovative combination of techniques‚ case-based reasoning coupled with text analytics‚ to solve the problem in a practical, real-world context.
We are interested in applications in which users must quickly retrieve answers to specific questions or problems from a complex information database with a minimum of effort and interaction. Examples include internal helpdesk support, web-based self-help for consumer products, decision-aiding systems for support personnel, and repositories for specialized documents such as patents, technical documents, or scientific literature. These applications are characterized by the fact that a diverse user population accesses highly focused knowledge bases in order to find precise answers to specific questions or problems. Despite the growing popularity of on-line service and support facilities for internal use by employees and for external use for customers, most such sites rely on traditional search engine technologies and are not very effective in reducing the time, expertise, and complexity required on the user’s part.
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Interactive Case-Based Reasoning for Precise Information Retrieval
by Ashwin Ram, Mark Devaney
In Case-Based Reasoning in Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, David Aha and Sankar Pal (editors).