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mmikko's avatar

How does Fluther matching engine work?

Asked by mmikko (1points) January 6th, 2008

Does Fluther use some kind of natural language parsing for matching the queries, or is it topic based?

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4 Answers

klaas4's avatar

It looks what topics you have in your profile (i.e. social), and if a question has that same topic, it appears in “Questions for you”.

So, topic based. :-)

sferik's avatar

It also looks at which “Questions for you” you’re not interested in and refines future selections based on that information.

chaosrob's avatar

Yeah, it tried to send me a question about when breasts stop growing. I think it might still need some work.

ben's avatar

A few points:

1. New users now start with five random “Questions for you,” so they can get a feel for the system. After that, “Questions for you” will only be sent when the algorithm makes a match.

2. The algorithm at the heart of the matching engine has some complexity, but ultimately we wanted to lean mostly on topics and stay away from true natural language processing, as it is an unsolved AI problem. We instead wanted to harness the power of human intelligence in grouping and categorizing questions.

3. The matching algorithm does uses stemming (“housing” matches “house”), topic scarcity, user profiles, user history and synthesizes them all together to figure out who is most likely to know the answer. We have ideas about how to further improve the system (such as letting the community refine a question’s topics), but overall it’s working quite well. We’re very pleased with this because it’s one of Fluther’s features that separates us from the competition.

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