First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP7080257, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1176, Degree course structure A.Y. 2014/15, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination INFORMATION RETRIEVAL
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Mathematics
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge MARISTELLA AGOSTI ING-INF/05

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses INF/01 Computer Science 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2014 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
9 A.A. 2019/2020 01/10/2019 15/03/2021 AGOSTI MARISTELLA (Presidente)
FERRO NICOLA (Supplente)
8 A.A. 2018/2019 01/10/2018 15/03/2020 AGOSTI MARISTELLA (Presidente)
FERRO NICOLA (Supplente)

Target skills and knowledge: Critical and advanced skills in the conception, design, implementation and evaluation of information retrieval systems (IRS) and search engines.
Examination methods: 1. Project: it is realized with two homework, one individual and one to be carried out in a group and with a seminar presentation; homework objectives and contents are presented in class.
2. Written exam with questions on all the contents covered in the teaching lessons. Examples of exams from previous academic years are made available during the course.
3. Possible oral integration.
Assessment criteria: The final exam allows to verify the acquisition of skills related to the ability to evaluate, conceive, design, reengineer, implement and manage information retrieval systems and search engines.
The project serves to test the ability to apply the acquired skills in an experimental way.
Course unit contents: Information retrieval systems and services are pervasive systems that are used every day in information acquisition, administrative management, acquisition of skills, entertainment and communication by millions of experienced and final users. Search engines and information retrieval systems handle large amounts of information, documents and digital resources (big data).

Search engines are the most popular information retrieval tools used to acquire information on people, events and scientific results. Thanks to the results obtained and the information acquired through the search engines, decisions are made and professional and personal activities are carried out.

Information retrieval tools are also included in the various social media (social media) that are used every day for professional and personal purposes by users all over the world and all those systems that allow to retrieve information from e-mail messages, documents and archives on permanent storage devices used in the various information processing tools that people today have in their personal use.

The course contents allow to acquire skills for the conception, design, implementation and evaluation of information retrieval systems and search engines. The presentation of the contents is divided into the following parts:
- Introductory elements (overview) for the representation, management and automatic retrieval of information in digital form
- Indexing: representation of the content of text documents, the indexing process and its main phases, word embeddings
- Information retrieval models: Boolean model, coordination level, vector model, word embeddings, probabilistic model, language models, neural IR
- Evaluation: IR evaluation, experimental collections (Cranfield, TREC), effectiveness and efficiency measures, statistical analysis, precision medicine
- Web search: Web structure, queries and users, Web Agents (Web Crawlers, Crawlers), Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The teaching is based on lectures and experimental activities.
Attendance at lessons is strongly recommended, because the course is designed for students who regularly attend classes, follow the experimental activities of the course and realize the project.
Information regarding the diary of lessons, teaching materials, deadlines and methods of examination are made available to the students in Moodle.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The study materials are made available in Moodle.

The reference textbook is:
Search Engines: Information Retrieval in Practice
Book by Donald Metzler, Trevor Strohman, and W. Bruce Croft
The book is available and freely downloadable at the URL:

A useful additional reference is:
Cornelis Joost (Keith) van Rijsbergen. Information Retrieval (2nd Edition). London, Butterworths, 1979
The book is available and freely downloadable at the URL:

Additional documentation is made available in electronic form in Moodle.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Croft, W. Bruce; Metzler, Donald; Strohman, Trevor, Search engines: information retrieval in practice. Boston: Pearson, 2010. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Working in group
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)