Simulation of interaction: a tutorial on modelling and simulating user interaction and search behaviour

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

3 Citations (Scopus)


Search is an inherently interactive, non-deterministic and user-dependent process. This means that there are many different possible sequences of interactions which could be taken (some ending in success and others ending in failure). Simulation provides a low cost, repeatable and reproducible way to explore a large range of different possibilities. This makes simulation very appealing, but it also requires care and consideration in developing, implementing and instantiating models of user behaviour for the purposes of experimentation.

In this tutorial, we aim to provide researchers with an overview of simulation, detailing the various types of simulation, models of search behavior used to simulate interaction, along with an overview of the various models of querying, stopping, selecting and marking. Through the course of the tutorial we will describe various studies and how they have used simulation to explore different behaviours and aspects of the search process. The final section of the tutorial will be dedicated to "best practice" and how to build, ground and validate simulations. The tutorial will conclude with a demonstration of an open source simulation framework that can be used develop various kinds of simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGIR '16 Proceedings of the 39th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • evaluation
  • information retrieval

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