A game of search

Azzopardi, Leif (2015) A game of search. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 1345. pp. 4-6. ISSN 1613-0073

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Searching is central to our existence. The search for water, food and shelter. The search for employment, transport and love. Searching for things to do, places to go, and people to meet. Of course, in Information Retrieval, we are primarily concerned with the search for information, knowledge and wisdom. If searching is so central to our lives, then are there underlying search strategies that define how we search, and invariably how successful we are? Information Foraging Theory posits that our search behaviour is similar to how animals forage for food (as it is derived from Optimal Foraging Theory). But do people search in such a manner? And how can we test such a theory, when so many factors inuence people's search interaction, behaviours and outcomes? In this talk, I will describe my search for mechanisms to test such theory - specifically focusing on games and gamification as a way to abstract the problem down so that experiments can be conducted in a controlled and precise manner.