cs446, Spring 2015

cs446, search engines
James Allan
Spring 2015

CMPSCI 446 is an undergraduate-level course in search engines and in Information Retrieval, the the science and engineering of indexing, organizing, searching, and making sense of unstructured or mostly unstructured information, particularly text. The class provides an overview of the important issues in information retrieval, and how those issues affect the design and implementation of search engines. The course emphasizes the technology used in Web search engines, and the information retrieval theories and concepts that underlie all search applications. Mathematical experience (as provided by CMPSCI 240) is required. You should also be able to program in Java (or some other closely related language).

For Spring 2015, cs446 is using the University Moodle system. Most of the information on this page is repeated in the class' Moodle site (which will not be available until the start of the semester). Your UMass userid and password will be required for access. Guest access is likely if needed; the password will be announced in class if that happens.

Registering for Spring 2015?

If enrollment in the class reaches the capacity of the classroom but you are interested in taking the class, you may request an override using the on-line overrides form. You will receive an acknowledgement message that indicates when you will be notified of a decision. These decisions are incredibly complex and involve lots of moving targets, so it may take awhile before one is made.

In addition to filling out that form (if enrollment is stopped), you are also welcome to come to the first class to get a better sense of the class. Once students drop the class (and it is likely that a few will), students who have requested an override will be admitted until the class fills again.


The following topics will be covered, though the order will be determined in part by student needs and interests:

Meeting times

The course will meet for two lectures a week: Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 10:00-11:15am, location TBD (tentatively in the Computer Science Building, room 140. That building is located smack in the middle of B2 on this map.)


The following text is required for this course.

Assignments and exams

Your grade in this class will be based upon homeworks, projects, a midterm exam, and a final.

Collaboration and help

You may discuss the ideas behind assignments with others. You may ask for help understanding class and search engine concepts. You may study with friends. However...

The work that you submit must be your own. It may not be copied from the web, from another student in the class, or from anyone else. If you stumble upon and use a solution from the textbook or from class, you are expected to acknowledge the source of the work (for example, "// The following way of solving this problem is on page 215 of the textbook").

Your effort on exams (midterms or final) must be your own.

Your homework submissions must be your own work and not in collaboration with anyone.

Your project work must be your own work and not a copy of someone else's work, nor done in collaboration with anyone.