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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Embedding Convolutions for Short Text Extreme Classification with Millions of Labels

Sep 13, 2021
Siddhant Kharbanda, Atmadeep Banerjee, Akash Palrecha, Rohit Babbar

Automatic annotation of short-text data to a large number of target labels, referred to as Short Text Extreme Classification, has recently found numerous applications in prediction of related searches and product recommendation tasks. The conventional usage of Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to capture n-grams in text-classification relies heavily on uniformity in word-ordering and the presence of long input sequences to convolve over. However, this is missing in short and unstructured text sequences encountered in search and recommendation. In order to tackle this, we propose an orthogonal approach by recasting the convolution operation to capture coupled semantics along the embedding dimensions, and develop a word-order agnostic embedding enhancement module to deal with the lack of structure in such queries. Benefitting from the computational efficiency of the convolution operation, Embedding Convolutions, when applied on the enriched word embeddings, result in a light-weight and yet powerful encoder (InceptionXML) that is robust to the inherent lack of structure in short-text extreme classification. Towards scaling our model to problems with millions of labels, we also propose InceptionXML+, which addresses the shortcomings of the dynamic hard-negative mining framework in the recently proposed LightXML by improving the alignment between the label-shortlister and extreme classifier. On popular benchmark datasets, we empirically demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art deep extreme classifiers such as Astec by an average of 5% and 8% on the [email protected] and propensity-scored [email protected] metrics respectively.

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An Interpretable Algorithm for Uveal Melanoma Subtyping from Whole Slide Cytology Images

Aug 13, 2021
Haomin Chen, T. Y. Alvin Liu, Catalina Gomez, Zelia Correa, Mathias Unberath

Algorithmic decision support is rapidly becoming a staple of personalized medicine, especially for high-stakes recommendations in which access to certain information can drastically alter the course of treatment, and thus, patient outcome; a prominent example is radiomics for cancer subtyping. Because in these scenarios the stakes are high, it is desirable for decision systems to not only provide recommendations but supply transparent reasoning in support thereof. For learning-based systems, this can be achieved through an interpretable design of the inference pipeline. Herein we describe an automated yet interpretable system for uveal melanoma subtyping with digital cytology images from fine needle aspiration biopsies. Our method embeds every automatically segmented cell of a candidate cytology image as a point in a 2D manifold defined by many representative slides, which enables reasoning about the cell-level composition of the tissue sample, paving the way for interpretable subtyping of the biopsy. Finally, a rule-based slide-level classification algorithm is trained on the partitions of the circularly distorted 2D manifold. This process results in a simple rule set that is evaluated automatically but highly transparent for human verification. On our in house cytology dataset of 88 uveal melanoma patients, the proposed method achieves an accuracy of 87.5% that compares favorably to all competing approaches, including deep "black box" models. The method comes with a user interface to facilitate interaction with cell-level content, which may offer additional insights for pathological assessment.

* Accepted by ICML 2021 workshop of ILHM 

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DeepTriage: Automated Transfer Assistance for Incidents in Cloud Services

Nov 25, 2020
Phuong Pham, Vivek Jain, Lukas Dauterman, Justin Ormont, Navendu Jain

As cloud services are growing and generating high revenues, the cost of downtime in these services is becoming significantly expensive. To reduce loss and service downtime, a critical primary step is to execute incident triage, the process of assigning a service incident to the correct responsible team, in a timely manner. An incorrect assignment risks additional incident reroutings and increases its time to mitigate by 10x. However, automated incident triage in large cloud services faces many challenges: (1) a highly imbalanced incident distribution from a large number of teams, (2) wide variety in formats of input data or data sources, (3) scaling to meet production-grade requirements, and (4) gaining engineers' trust in using machine learning recommendations. To address these challenges, we introduce DeepTriage, an intelligent incident transfer service combining multiple machine learning techniques - gradient boosted classifiers, clustering methods, and deep neural networks - in an ensemble to recommend the responsible team to triage an incident. Experimental results on real incidents in Microsoft Azure show that our service achieves 82.9% F1 score. For highly impacted incidents, DeepTriage achieves F1 score from 76.3% - 91.3%. We have applied best practices and state-of-the-art frameworks to scale DeepTriage to handle incident routing for all cloud services. DeepTriage has been deployed in Azure since October 2017 and is used by thousands of teams daily.

* KDD '20: Proceedings of the 26th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining August 2020. Pages 3281-3289 

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When to Impute? Imputation before and during cross-validation

Oct 01, 2020
Byron C. Jaeger, Nicholas J. Tierney, Noah R. Simon

Cross-validation (CV) is a technique used to estimate generalization error for prediction models. For pipeline modeling algorithms (i.e. modeling procedures with multiple steps), it has been recommended the entire sequence of steps be carried out during each replicate of CV to mimic the application of the entire pipeline to an external testing set. While theoretically sound, following this recommendation can lead to high computational costs when a pipeline modeling algorithm includes computationally expensive operations, e.g. imputation of missing values. There is a general belief that unsupervised variable selection (i.e. ignoring the outcome) can be applied before conducting CV without incurring bias, but there is less consensus for unsupervised imputation of missing values. We empirically assessed whether conducting unsupervised imputation prior to CV would result in biased estimates of generalization error or result in poorly selected tuning parameters and thus degrade the external performance of downstream models. Results show that despite optimistic bias, the reduced variance of imputation before CV compared to imputation during each replicate of CV leads to a lower overall root mean squared error for estimation of the true external R-squared and the performance of models tuned using CV with imputation before versus during each replication is minimally different. In conclusion, unsupervised imputation before CV appears valid in certain settings and may be a helpful strategy that enables analysts to use more flexible imputation techniques without incurring high computational costs.

* 11 pages (main text, not including references), 6 tables, and 4 figures. Code to replicate manuscript available at 

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The Adapter-Bot: All-In-One Controllable Conversational Model

Aug 28, 2020
Andrea Madotto, Zhaojiang Lin, Yejin Bang, Pascale Fung

Considerable progress has been made towards conversational models that generate coherent and fluent responses by training large language models on large dialogue datasets. These models have little or no control of the generated responses and miss two important features: continuous dialogue skills integration and seamlessly leveraging diverse knowledge sources. In this paper, we propose the Adapter-Bot, a dialogue model that uses a fixed backbone conversational model such as DialGPT (Zhang et al., 2019) and triggers on-demand dialogue skills (e.g., emphatic response, weather information, movie recommendation) via different adapters (Houlsby et al., 2019). Each adapter can be trained independently, thus allowing a continual integration of skills without retraining the entire model. Depending on the skills, the model is able to process multiple knowledge types, such as text, tables, and graphs, in a seamless manner. The dialogue skills can be triggered automatically via a dialogue manager, or manually, thus allowing high-level control of the generated responses. At the current stage, we have implemented 12 response styles (e.g., positive, negative etc.), 8 goal-oriented skills (e.g. weather information, movie recommendation, etc.), and personalized and emphatic responses. We evaluate our model using automatic evaluation by comparing it with existing state-of-the-art conversational models, and we have released an interactive system at

* Andrea Madotto and Zhaojiang Lin contributed equally to this work 

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SOAR: Simultaneous Or of And Rules for Classification of Positive & Negative Classes

Aug 25, 2020
Elena Khusainova, Emily Dodwell, Ritwik Mitra

Algorithmic decision making has proliferated and now impacts our daily lives in both mundane and consequential ways. Machine learning practitioners make use of a myriad of algorithms for predictive models in applications as diverse as movie recommendations, medical diagnoses, and parole recommendations without delving into the reasons driving specific predictive decisions. Machine learning algorithms in such applications are often chosen for their superior performance, however popular choices such as random forest and deep neural networks fail to provide an interpretable understanding of the predictive model. In recent years, rule-based algorithms have been used to address this issue. Wang et al. (2017) presented an or-of-and (disjunctive normal form) based classification technique that allows for classification rule mining of a single class in a binary classification; this method is also shown to perform comparably to other modern algorithms. In this work, we extend this idea to provide classification rules for both classes simultaneously. That is, we provide a distinct set of rules for both positive and negative classes. In describing this approach, we also present a novel and complete taxonomy of classifications that clearly capture and quantify the inherent ambiguity in noisy binary classifications in the real world. We show that this approach leads to a more granular formulation of the likelihood model and a simulated-annealing based optimization achieves classification performance competitive with comparable techniques. We apply our method to synthetic as well as real world data sets to compare with other related methods that demonstrate the utility of our proposal.

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Would you Like to Talk about Sports Now? Towards Contextual Topic Suggestion for Open-Domain Conversational Agents

May 28, 2020
Ali Ahmadvand, Harshita Sahijwani, Eugene Agichtein

To hold a true conversation, an intelligent agent should be able to occasionally take initiative and recommend the next natural conversation topic. This is a challenging task. A topic suggested by the agent should be relevant to the person, appropriate for the conversation context, and the agent should have something interesting to say about it. Thus, a scripted, or one-size-fits-all, popularity-based topic suggestion is doomed to fail. Instead, we explore different methods for a personalized, contextual topic suggestion for open-domain conversations. We formalize the Conversational Topic Suggestion problem (CTS) to more clearly identify the assumptions and requirements. We also explore three possible approaches to solve this problem: (1) model-based sequential topic suggestion to capture the conversation context (CTS-Seq), (2) Collaborative Filtering-based suggestion to capture previous successful conversations from similar users (CTS-CF), and (3) a hybrid approach combining both conversation context and collaborative filtering. To evaluate the effectiveness of these methods, we use real conversations collected as part of the Amazon Alexa Prize 2018 Conversational AI challenge. The results are promising: the CTS-Seq model suggests topics with 23% higher accuracy than the baseline, and incorporating collaborative filtering signals into a hybrid CTS-Seq-CF model further improves recommendation accuracy by 12%. Together, our proposed models, experiments, and analysis significantly advance the study of open-domain conversational agents, and suggest promising directions for future improvements.

* CHIIR 2020 

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Per-run Algorithm Selection with Warm-starting using Trajectory-based Features

Apr 20, 2022
Ana Kostovska, Anja Jankovic, Diederick Vermetten, Jacob de Nobel, Hao Wang, Tome Eftimov, Carola Doerr

Per-instance algorithm selection seeks to recommend, for a given problem instance and a given performance criterion, one or several suitable algorithms that are expected to perform well for the particular setting. The selection is classically done offline, using openly available information about the problem instance or features that are extracted from the instance during a dedicated feature extraction step. This ignores valuable information that the algorithms accumulate during the optimization process. In this work, we propose an alternative, online algorithm selection scheme which we coin per-run algorithm selection. In our approach, we start the optimization with a default algorithm, and, after a certain number of iterations, extract instance features from the observed trajectory of this initial optimizer to determine whether to switch to another optimizer. We test this approach using the CMA-ES as the default solver, and a portfolio of six different optimizers as potential algorithms to switch to. In contrast to other recent work on online per-run algorithm selection, we warm-start the second optimizer using information accumulated during the first optimization phase. We show that our approach outperforms static per-instance algorithm selection. We also compare two different feature extraction principles, based on exploratory landscape analysis and time series analysis of the internal state variables of the CMA-ES, respectively. We show that a combination of both feature sets provides the most accurate recommendations for our test cases, taken from the BBOB function suite from the COCO platform and the YABBOB suite from the Nevergrad platform.

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Sequential Search with Off-Policy Reinforcement Learning

Feb 01, 2022
Dadong Miao, Yanan Wang, Guoyu Tang, Lin Liu, Sulong Xu, Bo Long, Yun Xiao, Lingfei Wu, Yunjiang Jiang

Recent years have seen a significant amount of interests in Sequential Recommendation (SR), which aims to understand and model the sequential user behaviors and the interactions between users and items over time. Surprisingly, despite the huge success Sequential Recommendation has achieved, there is little study on Sequential Search (SS), a twin learning task that takes into account a user's current and past search queries, in addition to behavior on historical query sessions. The SS learning task is even more important than the counterpart SR task for most of E-commence companies due to its much larger online serving demands as well as traffic volume. To this end, we propose a highly scalable hybrid learning model that consists of an RNN learning framework leveraging all features in short-term user-item interactions, and an attention model utilizing selected item-only features from long-term interactions. As a novel optimization step, we fit multiple short user sequences in a single RNN pass within a training batch, by solving a greedy knapsack problem on the fly. Moreover, we explore the use of off-policy reinforcement learning in multi-session personalized search ranking. Specifically, we design a pairwise Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient model that efficiently captures users' long term reward in terms of pairwise classification error. Extensive ablation experiments demonstrate significant improvement each component brings to its state-of-the-art baseline, on a variety of offline and online metrics.

* 10 pages, 7 figures, CIKM 2021 

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A Review of Meta-level Learning in the Context of Multi-component, Multi-level Evolving Prediction Systems

Jul 17, 2020
Abbas Raza Ali, Marcin Budka, Bogdan Gabrys

The exponential growth of volume, variety and velocity of data is raising the need for investigations of automated or semi-automated ways to extract useful patterns from the data. It requires deep expert knowledge and extensive computational resources to find the most appropriate mapping of learning methods for a given problem. It becomes a challenge in the presence of numerous configurations of learning algorithms on massive amounts of data. So there is a need for an intelligent recommendation engine that can advise what is the best learning algorithm for a dataset. The techniques that are commonly used by experts are based on a trial and error approach evaluating and comparing a number of possible solutions against each other, using their prior experience on a specific domain, etc. The trial and error approach combined with the expert's prior knowledge, though computationally and time expensive, have been often shown to work for stationary problems where the processing is usually performed off-line. However, this approach would not normally be feasible to apply to non-stationary problems where streams of data are continuously arriving. Furthermore, in a non-stationary environment, the manual analysis of data and testing of various methods whenever there is a change in the underlying data distribution would be very difficult or simply infeasible. In that scenario and within an on-line predictive system, there are several tasks where Meta-learning can be used to effectively facilitate best recommendations including 1) pre-processing steps, 2) learning algorithms or their combination, 3) adaptivity mechanisms and their parameters, 4) recurring concept extraction, and 5) concept drift detection.

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