The purpose of this independent study is to introduce readers with a strong

enough background in mathematics to the field of information retrieval. The

project is laid out in three chapters. In the first chapter, a variety of

perspectives are introduced that explore the motivation and background of

information retrieval. In the second chapter, the focus becomes devising a

model using some techniques from linear algebra. As this model is

introduced, reasons for other models are introduced. In the final chapter, more

advanced techniques derived from discrete mathematics are employed to

generalize this model and make a model that is theoretically consistent and

still intuitively appealing. This paper is not written as a guide for

understanding information retrieval in its many aspects and forms, but is

meant to introduce the topic to an undergraduate audience. The literature

referenced throughout this document serves a variety of purposes, providing

general overviews of the models and as more specific instances of their

development. By tracing a development of one of the simpler models in this

paper, the reader should find the study of IR more accessible.


Moynihan, Matthew




Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics | Logic and Foundations | Theory and Algorithms


Vector Space Models, Information Retrieval, Natural Language Processing, Human Language Technology, Search Engines

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Gregory R.P. Yerkes