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INFSCI 2480/ISSP2280: Adaptive Information Systems

(Spring 2013, CRN 24424)

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Information systems suffer from an inability to satisfy the heterogeneous needs of many users. For example, Web courses present the same static learning material to students with widely differing knowledge of the subject. Most online stores still offer the same selection of "featured items" to customers with different needs and preferences. Virtual museums on the web offer the same "guided tour'' to visitors with very different goals and interests. Health information sites present the same information to readers with different health problems. A remedy for the negative effects of the traditional "one-size-fits-all'' approach is to develop systems with an ability to adapt their behavior to the goals, tasks, interests, and other features of individual users and groups of users. While Adaptive Information systems is a relatively young area, it evolves very fast. More and more commercial Adaptive Information systems become available each year. Starting with a handful or research teams worldwide and a few industrial pioneers such as Amazon.com, adaptation and personalization is now in focus of hundreds of researchers and practitioners.


The goal of the course is to get immersed into the world of the Adaptive Information Systems (AIS). The students in this class will learn about many aspects of AIS, get familiar with key Adaptive Web technologies, and study many examples of modern AIS. They will work in group to develop their own AIS and will have a chance to apply modern adaptation and personalization technologies in the context of larger projects. Those who will successfully complete the seminar will join a small cohort of experts on adaptivity and personalization.

The Web personalization industry is on the rise. In the comingyears universities, research labs, and companies will need hundreds of experts who understand adaptive systems and personalization to lead various exciting projects. Leading internet companies such as Google, Yahoo, IBM, Microsoft, Ebay, AOL and others are now already engaged in research and development of various adaptive Web systems and seek to hire knowlegeable workers.This is your chance to be among the leaders of the new and exciting field.


Here is the list of topics we may cover during the course

I. Modeling Technologies

  1. User models for adaptive hypermedia and adaptive educational systems
  2. User profiles for personalized information access
  3. Data mining for Web personalization
  4. Generic user modeling systems
  5. Document modeling

II. Adaptation Technologies

  1. Personalized search on the World Wide Web
  2. Adaptive focused crawling
  3. Adaptive navigation support
  4. Collaborative filtering
  5. Content-based filtering and recommendation
  6. Hybrid Web recommender systems
  7. Case-base recommendation
  8. Adaptive 3D Web sites
  9. Adaptive collaboration support for the Web
  10. Adaptive presentation for the Web
  11. Social Navigation
  12. Social Web Search

III. Applications

  1. Adaptive systems in health care
  2. Adaptive techniques in Web-based education
  3. Personalization in e-commerce applications
  4. Web-based mobile guides
  5. Adaptive news access

IV. Challenges

  1. Semantic Web metadata, ontologies, and reasoning for personalized information access on the Web
  2. Privacy-enhanced web personalization
  3. Open corpus adaptive hypermedia
  4. Group recommendation
  5. Empirical evaluation of personalized websites


The course will include several small assignments and a large group project. While the group project will be programming-oriented, it is not expected that each students who is taking this course has strong programming skills. Development of AIS requires a range of different skills such as domain analysis, algoritm design, modeling, etc. Each project team will required a range of expertise beyond programming. Students with knowledge of mathematics, statistics, education, psychology, artificial intelligence, etc. are encouraged to take the course to attend regardless of their programming skills.

Course Work and Grading

Components of the Final Grade

Course assessment includes attendance, weekly coursework and projects. Each assignment and project bears certain number of points. The instructor also reserves the right to administer unannounced quizzes for up to 5 points each if he feels that the students are not pursuing a resonable amount of assigned reading. Your final grade depends on the percentage of points you have earned. Score < 50% corresponds to F, 50-62.5 is D range, 65.5-75 is C range, 75-87.5 is B range, and 87.5-100 is A range.

Assignments and Projects

After a brief introduction into the field provided by the instructor we will switch to a regular work mode. Every week we focus on one or two topics. Each topic will be presented in the lecture followed by relevant student presentations and a discussion. The instructor, the assistant instructors, and doctoral students taking the course will alternate in giving a lecture and leading discussions for each of these topics. To complement the "reading part", the students will perform a range of weekly activities. The practical part of the course include two research paper reading projects, one presentation project and one large final project, which should be peformed in groups or, as an exception, individually.

Course Policies

Academic Integrity

You are expected to be fully aware of your responsibility to maintain a high quality of integrity in all of your work. All work must be your own, unless collaboration is specifically and explicitly permitted as in the course group project. Any unauthorized collaboration or copying will at minimum result in no credit for the affected assignment and may be subject to further action under the University Guidelines for Academic Integrity. You are expected to have read and understood these Guidelines. A document discussing these guidelines was included in your orientation materials.

Special Considerations

If you have a disability that requires special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications, please, notify both the instructor and Disability Resources and Services by the second week of the term. You may be asked to provide documentation of your disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To notify Disability Resources and Services, call 64807890 (voice or TDD) to schedule and appointment. The office is located in the William Pitt Union, Room 216,

Copyright © 2012 Peter Brusilovsky