Information Retrieval

Welcome to COSC431

Semester 1, 2019


Andrew Trotman (Owheo building, room 123A)


If you have ever used a Web search engine, like Google or Bing!, you will realise how helpful computers can be in finding information, and how frustrating. This paper will tell you how we can use computers to find information in unstructured or semi-structured text, and why it is as hard as it is important to do better. We'll start from the basics of IR, plot an intersting path through informaiton, and finish with recent research.


Second year programming and data structures.


There will be an examination worth 60% and two practical assignments worth a total of 40%.

  • Assignment 1 (20%) programming
  • Assignment 2 (20%) research
  • Examination (60%)


  • Date: To be confirmed
  • Time: To be confirmed
  • Room: To be confirmed

Lecture Schedule 2019

Lectures: Wednesdays at 11am - 1pm in Owheo room G34.

1 Introduction + Issues
2 Searching
3 Efficiency and Ranking
4 Evaluation
5 Phrase and Structured Search
6 Term Conflation
7 Relevance Feedback
8 Distributed Information Retrieval
9 Optimisations
10 Focused Retrieval and Automatic Hypertext Linking
11 Compression
12 Presentations and/or Revision

Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct

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Academic Misconduct, such as plagiarism or cheating, is a breach of Academic Integrity and is taken very seriously by the University. Types of misconduct include plagiarism, copying, unauthorised collaboration, taking unauthorised material into a test or exam, impersonation, and assisting someone else’s misconduct. A more extensive list of the types of academic misconduct and associated processes and penalties is available in the University’s Student Academic Misconduct Procedures.

It is your responsibility to be aware of and use acceptable academic practices when completing your assessments. To access the information in the Academic Integrity Policy and learn more, please visit the University’s Academic Integrity website at or ask at the Student Learning Centre or Library. If you have any questions, ask your lecturer.