Research Area

Information and Communication Technologies


Simon Factor


Barry Smyth


Case based reasoning recommender systems Recommendation engine


Similarity with Diversity for Better Recommendations

Searching online holidays websites can return hotels or villas that are very similar in location, function, and quality. Similarity is important but introducing diversity in information retrieval can significantly improve the accuracy, relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of these searches, particularly when queries are vague. Search result diversity is important as well as query similarity. When queries are vague, results should be similar to the query while at the same time being different from one another. Result diversity can provide the user with a representative sample of relevant items, rather than an incorrectly biased set of mutually similar results.
How It Works
Prioritising query (or profile) similarity during retrieval in a standard Recommendation of Case-Based Reasoning or Information Retrieval technologies will implicitly ignore the importance of retrieval diversity, and this may reduce the quality of the retrieval or recommended results to the detriment of the end user. The patented approach in US 7,188,101 B2 also returns a diverse set of cases in order to provide the user with optimal coverage of the information space in the vicinity of their query.
The expected benefits to consumers of the technology include: - Improved search technology, - More accurate and relevant search results, yielding more effective searching, - Faster finding of desired results, - Greater conversion of searchers into buyers, - Compatibility with similarity-based search engines, - Easy to implement and integrate with existing search/recommender systems. The expected benefits to users of systems incorporating the technology include: - Better user experience through more relevant search results, - Achieving desired results faster and more efficiently, - Reduced search “rage” or frustration, - More intuitive search results.
Granted US 7,188,101 B2
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