Multi-Agent User-Centric Specialization and Collaboration for Information Retrieval
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The amount of information on the World Wide Web (WWW) is rapidly growing in pace and topic diversity. This has made it increasingly difficult, and often frustrating, for information seekers to retrieve the content they are looking for as information retrieval systems (e.g., search engines) are unable to decipher the relevance of the retrieved information as it pertains to the information they are searching for. This issue can be decomposed into two aspects: 1) variability of information relevance as it pertains to an information seeker. In other words, different information seekers may enter the same search text, or keywords, but expect completely different results. It is therefore, imperative that information retrieval systems possess an ability to incorporate a model of the information seeker in order to estimate the relevance and context of use of information before presenting results. Of course, in this context, by a model we mean the capture of trends in the information seeker's search behaviour. This is what many researchers refer to as the personalized search. 2) Information diversity. Information available on the World Wide Web today spans multitudes of inherently overlapping topics, and it is difficult for any information retrieval system to decide effectively on the relevance of the information retrieved in response to an information seeker's query. For example, the information seeker who wishes to use WWW to learn about a cure for a certain illness would receive a more relevant answer if the search engine was optimized into such domains of topics. This is what is being referred to in the WWW nomenclature as a 'specialized search'. This thesis maintains that the information seeker's search is not intended to be completely random and therefore tends to portray itself as consistent patterns of behaviour. Nonetheless, this behaviour, despite being consistent, can be quite complex to capture. To accomplish this goal the thesis proposes a Multi-Agent Personalized Information Retrieval with Specialization Ontology (MAPIRSO). MAPIRSO offers a complete learning framework that is able to model the end user's search behaviour and interests and to organize information into categorized domains so as to ensure maximum relevance of its responses as they pertain to the end user queries. Specialization and personalization are accomplished using a group of collaborative agents. Each agent employs a Reinforcement Learning (RL) strategy to capture end user's behaviour and interests. Reinforcement learning allows the agents to evolve their knowledge of the end user behaviour and interests as they function to serve him or her. Furthermore, REL allows each agent to adapt to changes in an end user's behaviour and interests. Specialization is the process by which new information domains are created based on existing information topics, allowing new kinds of content to be built exclusively for information seekers. One of the key characteristics of specialization domains is the seeker centric - which allows intelligent agents to create new information based on the information seekers' feedback and their behaviours. Specialized domains are created by intelligent agents that collect information from a specific domain topic. The task of these specialized agents is to map the user's query to a repository of specific domains in order to present users with relevant information. As a result, mapping users' queries to only relevant information is one of the fundamental challenges in Artificial Intelligent (AI) and machine learning research. Our approach employs intelligent cooperative agents that specialize in building personalized ontology information domains that pertain to each information seeker's specific needs. Specializing and categorizing information into unique domains is one of the challenge areas that have been addressed and various proposed solutions were evaluated and adopted to address growing information. However, categorizing information into unique domains does not satisfy each individualized information seeker. Information seekers might search for similar topics, but each would have different interests. For example, medical information of a specific medical domain has different importance to both the doctor and patients. The thesis presents a novel solution that will resolve the growing and diverse information by building seeker centric specialized information domains that are personalized through the information seekers' feedback and behaviours. To address this challenge, the research examines the fundamental components that constitute the specialized agent: an intelligent machine learning system, user input queries, an intelligent agent, and information resources constructed through specialized domains. Experimental work is reported to demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed solution in addressing the overlapping information growth. The experimental work utilizes extensive user-centric specialized domain topics. This work employs personalized and collaborative multi learning agents and ontology techniques thereby enriching the queries and domains of the user. Therefore, experiments and results have shown that building specialized ontology domains, pertinent to the information seekers' needs, are more precise and efficient compared to other information retrieval applications and existing search engines.