A Survey of Query Auto Completion in Information Retrieval

Fei Cai, Maarten de Rijke
2016 Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval  
In information retrieval, query auto completion (QAC), also known as typeahead [Xiao et al., 2013 , Cai et al., 2014b and auto-complete suggestion [Jain and Mishne, 2010] , refers to the following functionality: given a prefix consisting of a number of characters entered into a search box, the user interface proposes alternative ways of extending the prefix to a full query. Ranking query completions is a challenging task due to the limited length of prefixes entered by users, the large volume
more » ... possible query completions matching a prefix, and the broad range of possible search intents. In recent years, a large number of query auto completion approaches have been proposed that produce ranked lists of alternative query completions by mining query logs. In this survey, we review work on query auto completion that has been published before 2016. We focus mainly on web search and provide a formal definition of the query auto completion problem. We describe two dominant families of approaches to the query auto completion problem, one based on heuristic models and the other based on learning to rank. We also identify dominant trends in published work on query auto completion, viz. the use of time-sensitive signals and the use of user-specific signals. We describe the datasets and metrics that are used to evaluate algorithms for query auto completion. We also devote a chapter to efficiency and a chapter to presentation and interaction aspects of query auto completion. We end by discussing related tasks as well as potential research directions to further the area. F. Cai and M. de Rijke.
doi:10.1561/1500000055 fatcat:cwnopwelhnbdbn4s3joiarmymq