Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Relaxation Ranking Passage Retrieval

Via Tim Bray, I discovered Steve Green's blog. Steve works at Sun, and is the Principal Investigator for the Advanced Search Technologies project in Sun Labs.

Sun Labs are working on Passage Search, using an technique called Relaxation Ranking Passage Retrieval which Steve provides an easy to follow explanation of. Basically it works by looking for passages that perfectly match the query, and assigning a penalty whenever the passage match is less than perfect - for example when words are missing, misordered, or separated by intervening words. The advantage is that in the absence of exact matches, "close" matches are found with no further work on refining the search query, and the penalty numbers provide a ranking from best to worst matches.

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