Our CIKM 2014 paper “Time-Sensitive Personalized Query Auto-Completion” by Fei Cai, Shangsong Liang and Maarten de Rijke is online now.

Query auto-completion (QAC) is a prominent feature of modern search engines. It is aimed at saving user’s time and enhancing the search experience. Current QAC models mostly rank matching QAC candidates according to their past popularity, i.e., frequency. However, query popularity changes over time and may vary drastically across users. Hence, rankings of QAC candidates should be adjusted accordingly. In previous work time-sensitive QAC models and user-specific QAC models have been developed separately. Both types of QAC model lead to important improvements over models that are neither time-sensitive nor personalized. We propose a hybrid QAC model that considers both of these aspects: time-sensitivity and personalization.

Using search logs, we return the top N QAC candidates by predicted popularity based on their recent trend and cyclic behavior. We use auto-correlation to detect query periodicity by long-term time-series analysis, and anticipate the query popularity trend based on observations within an optimal time window returned by a regression model. We rerank the returned top N candidates by integrating their similarities with a user’s preceding queries (both in the current session and in previous sessions by the same user) on a character level to produce a final QAC list. Our experimental results on two real-world datasets show that our hybrid QAC model outperforms state-of-the-art time-sensitive QAC baseline, achieving total improvements of between 3% and 7% in terms of MRR.