Multi-step Relevance Propagation for Expert Finding

by Pavel Serdyukov, Henning Rode, and Djoerd Hiemstra

A fragment of the real expertise graph with links between documents white nodes) and candidate experts (black nodes) for query 'sustainable ecosystems' An expert finding system allows a user to type a simple text query and retrieve names and contact information of individuals that possess the expertise expressed in the query. This paper proposes a novel approach to expert finding in large enterprises or intranets by modeling candidate experts (persons), web documents and various relations among them with so-called expertise graphs. As distinct from the state-of-the-art approaches estimating personal expertise through one-step propagation of relevance probability from documents to the related candidates, our methods are based on the principle of multi-step relevance propagation in topic-specific expertise graphs. We model the process of expert finding by probabilistic random walks of three kinds: finite, infinite and absorbing. Experiments on TREC Enterprise Track data originating from two large organizations show that our methods using multi-step relevance propagation improve over the baseline one-step propagation based method in almost all cases.

The paper will be presented at the ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management CIKM 2008 in Napa Valley, USA

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