The Goal Behind the Action: Toward Goal-Aware Systems and Applications

Dimitra Papadimitriou, Georgia Koutrika, John Mylopoulos, Yannis Velegrakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Human activity is almost always intentional, be it in a physical context or as part of an interaction with a computer system. By understanding why user-generated events are happening and what purposes they serve, a system can offer a significantly improved and more engaging experience. However, goals cannot be easily captured. Analyzing user actions such as clicks and purchases can reveal patterns and behaviors, but understanding the goals behind these actions is a different and challenging issue. Our work presents a unified, multidisciplinary viewpoint for goal management that covers many different cases where goals can be used and techniques with which they can be exploited. Our purpose is to provide a common reference point to the concepts and challenging tasks that need to be formally defined when someone wants to approach a data analysis problem from a goal-oriented point of view. This work also serves as a springboard to discuss several open challenges and opportunities for goal-oriented approaches in data management, analysis, and sharing systems and applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages43
JournalACM Transactions on Database Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Actions
  • Goal-aware
  • Intention
  • Interaction
  • Interactive systems
  • Operationalization
  • Plans
  • Queries
  • Recommenders
  • Retrieval


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