Development and augmentation of an agent-based information push mechanism
Abstract of the project
Information push mechanism is a way of pushing the information to the user who would be interested in that. This technique is widely used in web-site advertising (showing the advertisements that a user with a certain profile would be interested in, yahoo! sites for example). This technique can also be applied in other areas wherein a user with a known profile interacts with an information system (such as a website). Based on the profile and on the history of activities of the user, a behavioral profile of that user could be determined and this behavioral profile will help the information push system in determining the content that the particular user would like to view.
This project is aimed at developing an agent-based information push mechanism. In this system, an agent program would be monitoring the userâ„¢s activities (like what he types on a word document, for example) and then propose to get him some help to perform his activity in a better and easier way. This could be something like searching a repository for the documents that would help the user in preparing his current document and then providing him those documents.
Instead of the user searching for help on his activity, the agent takes the initiative of offering help to the user and so this comes under the information push systems.
Functional components (modules) of the project:
There are many ways in which information can be pushed to the user. And there are many criteria on which the information push can be activated. It may be based on his details (like his age, location, education etc). In this case, the required details of that person should be available to the information-push system. Or, it may be based on his activities (like what he is currently typing, what he is currently browsing etc). Or it may be based on a combination of the user details and user activities. Specification of this project, specifies the scope of the system. Given below are the functional components of a system that works based on the user activities. However, any other criteria that you find useful can be incorporated in this. And, in places where the description of the functionality is not adequate, you can make appropriate assumptions and proceed.
1. Activity Detector â€œ This component detects the activities of the user to find out if he is doing the activity of interest. For example, this could be checking periodically to see if the user had opened a word document.
2. Activity Monitor â€œ This component monitors the activity of the user once it is detected that the user is doing the activity of interest. For example, this could be looking for some key words in the word document that the user is editing (Some hints on how this kind of a component can be implemented is given in the References section of this document). If the user is typing a key word several times, you may want to offer help on that topic to the user through a wizard.
3. Help Wizard â€œ Once a decision to offer help to the user is made, this help wizard becomes active. This may prompt the user if he needs any help on a particular topic. This will also have some disable facilities, in case the person does not want to use this.
4. Search Engine â€œ Once the user decides to have some help on a particular topic, this component will search some repository (it may be the Internet also) and comes up with a set of search results.
5. Results Display â€œ This component will consolidate the search results and provide them in a neat format for the user. Facilities to search within the results or to pursue one particular search result further should be available.