A peculiarity of conversational search systems is that they involve mixed-initiatives such as system-generated query clarifying questions. Evaluating those systems at a large scale on the end task of IR is very challenging, requiring adequate datasets containing such interactions. However, current datasets only focus on either traditional ad-hoc IR tasks or query clarification tasks, the latter being usually seen as a reformulation task from the initial query. The only two datasets known to us that contain both document relevance judgments and the associated clarification interactions are Qulac and ClariQ. Both are based on the TREC Web Track 2009-12 collection, but cover a very limited number of topics (237 topics), far from being enough for training and testing conversational IR models. To fill the gap, we propose a methodology to automatically build large-scale conversational IR datasets from ad-hoc IR datasets in order to facilitate explorations on conversational IR. Our methodology is based on two processes: 1) generating query clarification interactions through query clarification and answer generators, and 2) augmenting ad-hoc IR datasets with simulated interactions. In this paper, we focus on MsMarco and augment it with query clarification and answer simulations. We perform a thorough evaluation showing the quality and the relevance of the generated interactions for each initial query. This paper shows the feasibility and utility of augmenting ad-hoc IR datasets for conversational IR.
Modern recommender systems employ various sequential modules such as self-attention to learn dynamic user interests. However, these methods are less effective in capturing collaborative and transitional signals within user interaction sequences. First, the self-attention architecture uses the embedding of a single item as the attention query, which is inherently challenging to capture collaborative signals. Second, these methods typically follow an auto-regressive framework, which is unable to learn global item transition patterns. To overcome these limitations, we propose a new method called Multi-Query Self-Attention with Transition-Aware Embedding Distillation (MQSA-TED). First, we propose an $L$-query self-attention module that employs flexible window sizes for attention queries to capture collaborative signals. In addition, we introduce a multi-query self-attention method that balances the bias-variance trade-off in modeling user preferences by combining long and short-query self-attentions. Second, we develop a transition-aware embedding distillation module that distills global item-to-item transition patterns into item embeddings, which enables the model to memorize and leverage transitional signals and serves as a calibrator for collaborative signals. Experimental results on four real-world datasets show the superiority of our proposed method over state-of-the-art sequential recommendation methods.
Large language models (LLMs) face significant challenges stemming from their inherent limitations in knowledge, memory, alignment, and action. These challenges cannot be addressed by LLMs alone, but should rely on assistance from the external world, such as knowledge base, memory store, demonstration examples, and tools. Retrieval augmentation stands as a vital mechanism for bridging the gap between LLMs and the external assistance. However, conventional methods encounter two pressing issues. On the one hand, the general-purpose retrievers are not properly optimized for the retrieval augmentation of LLMs. On the other hand, the task-specific retrievers lack the required versatility, hindering their performance across the diverse retrieval augmentation scenarios. In this work, we present a novel approach, the LLM-Embedder, which comprehensively supports the diverse retrieval augmentation needs of LLMs with one unified embedding model. Training such a unified model is non-trivial, as various retrieval tasks aim to capture distinct semantic relationships, often subject to mutual interference. To address this challenge, we systematically optimize our training methodology. This includes reward formulation based on LLMs' feedback, the stabilization of knowledge distillation, multi-task fine-tuning with explicit instructions, and homogeneous in-batch negative sampling. These optimization strategies contribute to the outstanding empirical performance of the LLM-Embedder. Notably, it yields remarkable enhancements in retrieval augmentation for LLMs, surpassing both general-purpose and task-specific retrievers in various evaluation scenarios. Our checkpoint and source code are publicly available at https://github.com/FlagOpen/FlagEmbedding.
Multi-modal open-domain question answering typically requires evidence retrieval from databases across diverse modalities, such as images, tables, passages, etc. Even Large Language Models (LLMs) like GPT-4 fall short in this task. To enable LLMs to tackle the task in a zero-shot manner, we introduce MoqaGPT, a straightforward and flexible framework. Using a divide-and-conquer strategy that bypasses intricate multi-modality ranking, our framework can accommodate new modalities and seamlessly transition to new models for the task. Built upon LLMs, MoqaGPT retrieves and extracts answers from each modality separately, then fuses this multi-modal information using LLMs to produce a final answer. Our methodology boosts performance on the MMCoQA dataset, improving F1 by +37.91 points and EM by +34.07 points over the supervised baseline. On the MultiModalQA dataset, MoqaGPT surpasses the zero-shot baseline, improving F1 by 9.5 points and EM by 10.1 points, and significantly closes the gap with supervised methods. Our codebase is available at https://github.com/lezhang7/MOQAGPT.
Conversational search allows a user to interact with a search system in multiple turns. A query is strongly dependent on the conversation context. An effective way to improve retrieval effectiveness is to expand the current query with historical queries. However, not all the previous queries are related to, and useful for expanding the current query. In this paper, we propose a new method to select relevant historical queries that are useful for the current query. To cope with the lack of labeled training data, we use a pseudo-labeling approach to annotate useful historical queries based on their impact on the retrieval results. The pseudo-labeled data are used to train a selection model. We further propose a multi-task learning framework to jointly train the selector and the retriever during fine-tuning, allowing us to mitigate the possible inconsistency between the pseudo labels and the changed retriever. Extensive experiments on four conversational search datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and broad applicability of our method compared with several strong baselines.
In conversational search, the user's real search intent for the current turn is dependent on the previous conversation history. It is challenging to determine a good search query from the whole conversation context. To avoid the expensive re-training of the query encoder, most existing methods try to learn a rewriting model to de-contextualize the current query by mimicking the manual query rewriting. However, manually rewritten queries are not always the best search queries. Training a rewriting model on them would limit the model's ability to produce good search queries. Another useful hint is the potential answer to the question. In this paper, we propose ConvGQR, a new framework to reformulate conversational queries based on generative pre-trained language models (PLMs), one for query rewriting and another for generating potential answers. By combining both, ConvGQR can produce better search queries. In addition, to relate query reformulation to retrieval performance, we propose a knowledge infusion mechanism to optimize both query reformulation and retrieval. Extensive experiments on four conversational search datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of ConvGQR.
Large language models (LLMs) encode a large amount of world knowledge. However, as such knowledge is frozen at the time of model training, the models become static and limited by the training data at that time. In order to further improve the capacity of LLMs for knowledge-intensive tasks, we consider augmenting LLMs with the large-scale web using search engine. Unlike previous augmentation sources (e.g., Wikipedia data dump), the web provides broader, more comprehensive and constantly updated information. In this paper, we present a web-augmented LLM UNIWEB, which is trained over 16 knowledge-intensive tasks in a unified text-to-text format. Instead of simply using the retrieved contents from web, our approach has made two major improvements. Firstly, we propose an adaptive search engine assisted learning method that can self-evaluate the confidence level of LLM's predictions, and adaptively determine when to refer to the web for more data, which can avoid useless or noisy augmentation from web. Secondly, we design a pretraining task, i.e., continual knowledge learning, based on salient spans prediction, to reduce the discrepancy between the encoded and retrieved knowledge. Experiments on a wide range of knowledge-intensive tasks show that our model significantly outperforms previous retrieval-augmented methods.
Large language models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, are prone to generate hallucinations, \ie content that conflicts with the source or cannot be verified by the factual knowledge. To understand what types of content and to which extent LLMs are apt to hallucinate, we introduce the Hallucination Evaluation for Large Language Models (HaluEval) benchmark, a large collection of generated and human-annotated hallucinated samples for evaluating the performance of LLMs in recognizing hallucination. To generate these samples, we propose a ChatGPT-based two-step framework, \ie sampling-then-filtering. Besides, we also hire some human labelers to annotate the hallucinations in ChatGPT responses. The empirical results suggest that ChatGPT is likely to generate hallucinated content in specific topics by fabricating unverifiable information (\ie about $11.4\%$ user queries). Moreover, existing LLMs face great challenges in recognizing the hallucinations in texts. While, our experiments also prove that the hallucination recognition can be improved by providing external knowledge or adding reasoning steps. Our benchmark can be accessed at https://github.com/RUCAIBox/HaluEval.
Language is essentially a complex, intricate system of human expressions governed by grammatical rules. It poses a significant challenge to develop capable AI algorithms for comprehending and grasping a language. As a major approach, language modeling has been widely studied for language understanding and generation in the past two decades, evolving from statistical language models to neural language models. Recently, pre-trained language models (PLMs) have been proposed by pre-training Transformer models over large-scale corpora, showing strong capabilities in solving various NLP tasks. Since researchers have found that model scaling can lead to performance improvement, they further study the scaling effect by increasing the model size to an even larger size. Interestingly, when the parameter scale exceeds a certain level, these enlarged language models not only achieve a significant performance improvement but also show some special abilities that are not present in small-scale language models. To discriminate the difference in parameter scale, the research community has coined the term large language models (LLM) for the PLMs of significant size. Recently, the research on LLMs has been largely advanced by both academia and industry, and a remarkable progress is the launch of ChatGPT, which has attracted widespread attention from society. The technical evolution of LLMs has been making an important impact on the entire AI community, which would revolutionize the way how we develop and use AI algorithms. In this survey, we review the recent advances of LLMs by introducing the background, key findings, and mainstream techniques. In particular, we focus on four major aspects of LLMs, namely pre-training, adaptation tuning, utilization, and capacity evaluation. Besides, we also summarize the available resources for developing LLMs and discuss the remaining issues for future directions.