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Modelling Complex Search tasks

Project COST – Modelling Complex Search tasks

Search engines, and more generally search systems, are the main access to a world-scale digital library, allowing people to achieve search tasks. In the CoST project, we envision a shift from search engines to task completion engines by dynamically assisting users in making the optimal decisions, empowering them to achieve multi-step and highly cognitive search tasks. This triggers the need for (1) more predictable and automatic models of user-system interaction and search tasks and, (2) more task-oriented information access models.


In the past years, the range and level of complexity of search tasks significantly increased from simple ones like fact-finding to more intensive knowledge-oriented tasks like hypothesis-directed search for medical diagnosis or human learning for educational purposes. Such tasks span multiple sessions, require sustained user-system interaction, engagement with information, and are structured in multiple subtasks and/or multiple topics. While search systems today are very efficient for simple look-up information tasks (fact-finding search), they are unable to guide users engaged in complex search processes. Hence, paradoxically, while we consider information search nowadays to be ‘natural’ and ‘easy’, search systems are not yet able to provide adequate support for achieving a wide range of real-life work search tasks.



The expected results for the project are:

Partnerships and collaborations

Project: https://www.irit.fr/COST/

Project members