CIIR Talk Series: Leif Azzopardi

Speaker: Leif Azzopardi, Associate Professor at University of Strathclyde, Scotland

Talk Title: Modelling and Measuring Information-Interactions

Date: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST (North American Eastern Standard Time) via Zoom

Zoom Access: Zoom Link and reach out to Alex Taubman for the passcode.

Abstract: Everyday people engage with and use information systems to find and consume information, as well as to produce and create new information. The systems, and how they are designed, impact upon task completion, performance, and user satisfaction. A key challenge as designers and system builders is to model and measure the impact and influence information systems have on people and society. Here, Economic Theory provides an intuitive and natural way to formalize how we represent people’s information interactions with the applications, interfaces and systems that they employ. By developing economics models (or optimization models, more generally), it is possible to hypothesis and reason about how changes to the system will affect performance and behavior.

In this talk, I will focus on my efforts in applying economic theory to formalize our understanding of search behavior and performance. First, I will present an economic model of search behavior, and then use this model within a utility-based framework to create a theoretically underpinned metric. Finally, I show how we’ve applied this new metric to measure the utility of Search Engine Result Pages. To conclude, I will discuss some of the challenges, opportunities and future possibilities of developing such models and measures, along with their potential applications to drive innovation and create applications that provide value and benefit to end-users.

Bio: Dr. Leif Azzopardi is an Associate Professor at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow within Department of Computer and Information Science ( He leads the Interactive Information Retrieval group within Strathclyde’s iSchool, where he supervises two research assistants and five PhD students. His research focuses on examining the influence and impact of search technology on people and society and is heavily underpinned by theory. He has made numerous contributions in: (i) the development of statistical language models for document, sentence, expert retrieval (ii) the simulation and evaluation of users and their interactions, (iii) the analysis of systems and retrieval bias using retrievability theory and the (iv) the modelling and measuring of search behaviour and performance using economic theory. He has extensive publication track with over 150 referred publications. His work has attracted over 4800 citations (H-Index: 31). He has given numerous keynotes, invited talks and tutorials on retrievability, search economics, and simulation, as well as receiving various awards including an ACM SIGIR Test of Time Award in 2018, HFES 2020 Best Paper, and ACM CHIIR 2020 Best Paper.