This paper focuses on the task of Extreme Multi-Label Classification (XMC) whose goal is to predict multiple labels for each instance from an extremely large label space. While existing research has primarily focused on fully supervised XMC, real-world scenarios often lack complete supervision signals, highlighting the importance of zero-shot settings. Given the large label space, utilizing in-context learning approaches is not trivial. We address this issue by introducing In-Context Extreme Multilabel Learning (ICXML), a two-stage framework that cuts down the search space by generating a set of candidate labels through incontext learning and then reranks them. Extensive experiments suggest that ICXML advances the state of the art on two diverse public benchmarks.
Recent research has shown that transformer networks can be used as differentiable search indexes by representing each document as a sequences of document ID tokens. These generative retrieval models cast the retrieval problem to a document ID generation problem for each given query. Despite their elegant design, existing generative retrieval models only perform well on artificially-constructed and small-scale collections. This has led to serious skepticism in the research community on their real-world impact. This paper represents an important milestone in generative retrieval research by showing, for the first time, that generative retrieval models can be trained to perform effectively on large-scale standard retrieval benchmarks. For doing so, we propose RIPOR- an optimization framework for generative retrieval that can be adopted by any encoder-decoder architecture. RIPOR is designed based on two often-overlooked fundamental design considerations in generative retrieval. First, given the sequential decoding nature of document ID generation, assigning accurate relevance scores to documents based on the whole document ID sequence is not sufficient. To address this issue, RIPOR introduces a novel prefix-oriented ranking optimization algorithm. Second, initial document IDs should be constructed based on relevance associations between queries and documents, instead of the syntactic and semantic information in the documents. RIPOR addresses this issue using a relevance-based document ID construction approach that quantizes relevance-based representations learned for documents. Evaluation on MSMARCO and TREC Deep Learning Track reveals that RIPOR surpasses state-of-the-art generative retrieval models by a large margin (e.g., 30.5% MRR improvements on MS MARCO Dev Set), and perform better on par with popular dense retrieval models.
This paper studies a category of visual question answering tasks, in which accessing external knowledge is necessary for answering the questions. This category is called outside-knowledge visual question answering (OK-VQA). A major step in developing OK-VQA systems is to retrieve relevant documents for the given multi-modal query. Current state-of-the-art asymmetric dense retrieval model for this task uses an architecture with a multi-modal query encoder and a uni-modal document encoder. Such an architecture requires a large amount of training data for effective performance. We propose an automatic data generation pipeline for pre-training passage retrieval models for OK-VQA tasks. The proposed approach leads to 26.9% Precision@5 improvements compared to the current state-of-the-art asymmetric architecture. Additionally, the proposed pre-training approach exhibits a good ability in zero-shot retrieval scenarios.
Narrative-driven recommendation (NDR) presents an information access problem where users solicit recommendations with verbose descriptions of their preferences and context, for example, travelers soliciting recommendations for points of interest while describing their likes/dislikes and travel circumstances. These requests are increasingly important with the rise of natural language-based conversational interfaces for search and recommendation systems. However, NDR lacks abundant training data for models, and current platforms commonly do not support these requests. Fortunately, classical user-item interaction datasets contain rich textual data, e.g., reviews, which often describe user preferences and context - this may be used to bootstrap training for NDR models. In this work, we explore using large language models (LLMs) for data augmentation to train NDR models. We use LLMs for authoring synthetic narrative queries from user-item interactions with few-shot prompting and train retrieval models for NDR on synthetic queries and user-item interaction data. Our experiments demonstrate that this is an effective strategy for training small-parameter retrieval models that outperform other retrieval and LLM baselines for narrative-driven recommendation.
In this work, we explore a Multilingual Information Retrieval (MLIR) task, where the collection includes documents in multiple languages. We demonstrate that applying state-of-the-art approaches developed for cross-lingual information retrieval to MLIR tasks leads to sub-optimal performance. This is due to the heterogeneous and imbalanced nature of multilingual collections -- some languages are better represented in the collection and some benefit from large-scale training data. To address this issue, we present KD-SPD, a novel soft prompt decoding approach for MLIR that implicitly "translates" the representation of documents in different languages into the same embedding space. To address the challenges of data scarcity and imbalance, we introduce a knowledge distillation strategy. The teacher model is trained on rich English retrieval data, and by leveraging bi-text data, our distillation framework transfers its retrieval knowledge to the multilingual document encoder. Therefore, our approach does not require any multilingual retrieval training data. Extensive experiments on three MLIR datasets with a total of 15 languages demonstrate that KD-SPD significantly outperforms competitive baselines in all cases. We conduct extensive analyses to show that our method has less language bias and better zero-shot transfer ability towards new languages.
Dense retrieval models use bi-encoder network architectures for learning query and document representations. These representations are often in the form of a vector representation and their similarities are often computed using the dot product function. In this paper, we propose a new representation learning framework for dense retrieval. Instead of learning a vector for each query and document, our framework learns a multivariate distribution and uses negative multivariate KL divergence to compute the similarity between distributions. For simplicity and efficiency reasons, we assume that the distributions are multivariate normals and then train large language models to produce mean and variance vectors for these distributions. We provide a theoretical foundation for the proposed framework and show that it can be seamlessly integrated into the existing approximate nearest neighbor algorithms to perform retrieval efficiently. We conduct an extensive suite of experiments on a wide range of datasets, and demonstrate significant improvements compared to competitive dense retrieval models.
Developing a universal model that can efficiently and effectively respond to a wide range of information access requests -- from retrieval to recommendation to question answering -- has been a long-lasting goal in the information retrieval community. This paper argues that the flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness brought by the recent development in dense retrieval and approximate nearest neighbor search have smoothed the path towards achieving this goal. We develop a generic and extensible dense retrieval framework, called \framework, that can handle a wide range of (personalized) information access requests, such as keyword search, query by example, and complementary item recommendation. Our proposed approach extends the capabilities of dense retrieval models for ad-hoc retrieval tasks by incorporating user-specific preferences through the development of a personalized attentive network. This allows for a more tailored and accurate personalized information access experience. Our experiments on real-world e-commerce data suggest the feasibility of developing universal information access models by demonstrating significant improvements even compared to competitive baselines specifically developed for each of these individual information access tasks. This work opens up a number of fundamental research directions for future exploration.
Knowledge-Intensive Visual Question Answering (KI-VQA) refers to answering a question about an image whose answer does not lie in the image. This paper presents a new pipeline for KI-VQA tasks, consisting of a retriever and a reader. First, we introduce DEDR, a symmetric dual encoding dense retrieval framework in which documents and queries are encoded into a shared embedding space using uni-modal (textual) and multi-modal encoders. We introduce an iterative knowledge distillation approach that bridges the gap between the representation spaces in these two encoders. Extensive evaluation on two well-established KI-VQA datasets, i.e., OK-VQA and FVQA, suggests that DEDR outperforms state-of-the-art baselines by 11.6% and 30.9% on OK-VQA and FVQA, respectively. Utilizing the passages retrieved by DEDR, we further introduce MM-FiD, an encoder-decoder multi-modal fusion-in-decoder model, for generating a textual answer for KI-VQA tasks. MM-FiD encodes the question, the image, and each retrieved passage separately and uses all passages jointly in its decoder. Compared to competitive baselines in the literature, this approach leads to 5.5% and 8.5% improvements in terms of question answering accuracy on OK-VQA and FVQA, respectively.
This paper highlights the importance of personalization in the current state of natural language understanding and generation and introduces the LaMP benchmark -- a novel benchmark for training and evaluating language models for producing personalized outputs. LaMP offers a comprehensive evaluation framework with diverse language tasks and multiple entries for each user profile. It consists of seven personalized tasks, spanning three classification and four text generation tasks. We also propose a retrieval augmentation approach that retrieves personalized items from user profiles to construct personalized prompts for large language models. Our baseline zero-shot and fine-tuned model results indicate that LMs utilizing profile augmentation outperform their counterparts that do not factor in profile information.
Neural ranking models (NRMs) have demonstrated effective performance in several information retrieval (IR) tasks. However, training NRMs often requires large-scale training data, which is difficult and expensive to obtain. To address this issue, one can train NRMs via weak supervision, where a large dataset is automatically generated using an existing ranking model (called the weak labeler) for training NRMs. Weakly supervised NRMs can generalize from the observed data and significantly outperform the weak labeler. This paper generalizes this idea through an iterative re-labeling process, demonstrating that weakly supervised models can iteratively play the role of weak labeler and significantly improve ranking performance without using manually labeled data. The proposed Generalized Weak Supervision (GWS) solution is generic and orthogonal to the ranking model architecture. This paper offers four implementations of GWS: self-labeling, cross-labeling, joint cross- and self-labeling, and greedy multi-labeling. GWS also benefits from a query importance weighting mechanism based on query performance prediction methods to reduce noise in the generated training data. We further draw a theoretical connection between self-labeling and Expectation-Maximization. Our experiments on two passage retrieval benchmarks suggest that all implementations of GWS lead to substantial improvements compared to weak supervision in all cases.