George Mason University

Department of Information Systems and Systems Engineering

INFS 623: Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems

Fall 2011 --- Prof. Ami Motro

This graduate course covers two hugely popular types of systems: Web search engines and recommender systems. Web search engines attempt to locate information items (e.g., documents, Web pages) based on user specifications. These systems have developed from traditional systems for bibliogrphic information retrieval dating back 40 years. With the exception of Web browsers, search engines arguably are the most widely-used tool for accessing information on the Web. Recommeder systems discover information items (e.g., people, products) that are likely to be of interest to users. This course will explore both types of systems, underlining their shared principles. Roughly, two thirds of the course will be devoted to search engines and one third to recommender systems.


The foundation courses: SWE-510: Object-oriented Programming, INFS 501: Discrete and Logical Structures, INFS 515: Computer Organization, INFS 590: Program Design and Data Structures. Note: prerequisites are strictly enforced!


Two exams and four or five homework assignments (approximate weights are indicated in parenthesis):

  1. Homework assignments (30%)
  2. Midterm exam (30%)
  3. Final exam (40%)
  1. Introduction to Information Retrieval
    Christopher D. Manning, Prabhakar Raghavan, and Hinrich Schutze
    Cambridge University Press, 2008
  2. Recommender Systems: An Introduction
    Dietmar Jannach, Marcus Zanker, Alexander FelFering and Gerhard Friedrich
    Cambridge University Press, 2011

Dr. Ami Motro
Office: S&T2-455, Telephone: 993-1665
Office hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 3:00-4:00

Teaching Assistant



Wednesday 4:30-7:10, IN-133