The tutorials takes place online on Tuesday 24 November 2020 one day before the Search Solutions event.

Watch the video presentations



Reinforcement Learning for Information Retrieval (Full-day Tutorial)

Alexander Kuhnle, Miguel Aroca-Ouellette, John Reid, Dell Zhang (Blue Prism AI Labs)

There is strong interest in leveraging reinforcement learning (RL) for information retrieval (IR) applications including search, recommendation, and advertising. Just in SIGIR-2020, the term “reinforcement learning” is mentioned in 46 different papers. It has also been reported that Internet companies like YouTube and Alibaba have started to gain competitive advantages from their RL-based search and recommendation engines. This full-day tutorial gives IR researchers and practitioners who have little or no experience with RL the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of modern RL in a practical hands-on setting. Furthermore, some representative applications of RL in IR systems will be introduced and discussed.


All times are UK times (GMT).

09:30 - RL Basics and Tabular Q-Learning
10:30 - Coffee Break
10:45 - Deep Q-Network (DQN)
11:45 - Coffee Break
12:00 - IR applications using DQN
12:30 - Lunch Break
14:00 - Policy Gradient (REINFORCE)
15:00 - Coffee Break
15:15 - Actor Critic
15:45 - Coffee Break
16:00 - IR applications using REINFORCE
17:00 - Outlook

Lots of further information, exercises, material and resources can be found on the Reinforcement Learning for Information Retrieval tutorial page.


Online event. Further details will be provided in due course.


Please visit our Eventbrite registration page to register.

Registration fees (including VAT) are as follows:

Search Solutions + Tutorials (BCS/ISKO/CILIP member): £20.00
Search Solutions + Tutorials (Students): £13.00
Search Solutions + Tutorials (Non-Member): £25.00

Search Solutions only (BCS/ISKO/CILIP member): £15.00
Search Solutions only (Students): £10.00
Search Solutions only (Non-Member): £20.00

Tutorials only (BCS/ISKO/CILIP member): £10.00
Tutorials only (Students): £5.00
Tutorials only (Non-Member): £15.00

Tutorial Chair

Haiming Liu, University of Bedfordshire

For enquiries about the event please send a message to