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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Probing Product Description Generation via Posterior Distillation

Mar 02, 2021
Haolan Zhan, Hainan Zhang, Hongshen Chen, Lei Shen, Zhuoye Ding, Yongjun Bao, Weipeng Yan, Yanyan Lan

In product description generation (PDG), the user-cared aspect is critical for the recommendation system, which can not only improve user's experiences but also obtain more clicks. High-quality customer reviews can be considered as an ideal source to mine user-cared aspects. However, in reality, a large number of new products (known as long-tailed commodities) cannot gather sufficient amount of customer reviews, which brings a big challenge in the product description generation task. Existing works tend to generate the product description solely based on item information, i.e., product attributes or title words, which leads to tedious contents and cannot attract customers effectively. To tackle this problem, we propose an adaptive posterior network based on Transformer architecture that can utilize user-cared information from customer reviews. Specifically, we first extend the self-attentive Transformer encoder to encode product titles and attributes. Then, we apply an adaptive posterior distillation module to utilize useful review information, which integrates user-cared aspects to the generation process. Finally, we apply a Transformer-based decoding phase with copy mechanism to automatically generate the product description. Besides, we also collect a large-scare Chinese product description dataset to support our work and further research in this field. Experimental results show that our model is superior to traditional generative models in both automatic indicators and human evaluation.

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Assured Autonomy: Path Toward Living With Autonomous Systems We Can Trust

Oct 27, 2020
Ufuk Topcu, Nadya Bliss, Nancy Cooke, Missy Cummings, Ashley Llorens, Howard Shrobe, Lenore Zuck

The challenge of establishing assurance in autonomy is rapidly attracting increasing interest in the industry, government, and academia. Autonomy is a broad and expansive capability that enables systems to behave without direct control by a human operator. To that end, it is expected to be present in a wide variety of systems and applications. A vast range of industrial sectors, including (but by no means limited to) defense, mobility, health care, manufacturing, and civilian infrastructure, are embracing the opportunities in autonomy yet face the similar barriers toward establishing the necessary level of assurance sooner or later. Numerous government agencies are poised to tackle the challenges in assured autonomy. Given the already immense interest and investment in autonomy, a series of workshops on Assured Autonomy was convened to facilitate dialogs and increase awareness among the stakeholders in the academia, industry, and government. This series of three workshops aimed to help create a unified understanding of the goals for assured autonomy, the research trends and needs, and a strategy that will facilitate sustained progress in autonomy. The first workshop, held in October 2019, focused on current and anticipated challenges and problems in assuring autonomous systems within and across applications and sectors. The second workshop held in February 2020, focused on existing capabilities, current research, and research trends that could address the challenges and problems identified in workshop. The third event was dedicated to a discussion of a draft of the major findings from the previous two workshops and the recommendations.

* A Computing Community Consortium (CCC) workshop report, 28 pages 

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Learning from Comparisons and Choices

Apr 24, 2017
Sahand Negahban, Sewoong Oh, Kiran K. Thekumparampil, Jiaming Xu

When tracking user-specific online activities, each user's preference is revealed in the form of choices and comparisons. For example, a user's purchase history tracks her choices, i.e. which item was chosen among a subset of offerings. A user's comparisons are observed either explicitly as in movie ratings or implicitly as in viewing times of news articles. Given such individualized ordinal data, we address the problem of collaboratively learning representations of the users and the items. The learned features can be used to predict a user's preference of an unseen item to be used in recommendation systems. This also allows one to compute similarities among users and items to be used for categorization and search. Motivated by the empirical successes of the MultiNomial Logit (MNL) model in marketing and transportation, and also more recent successes in word embedding and crowdsourced image embedding, we pose this problem as learning the MNL model parameters that best explains the data. We propose a convex optimization for learning the MNL model, and show that it is minimax optimal up to a logarithmic factor by comparing its performance to a fundamental lower bound. This characterizes the minimax sample complexity of the problem, and proves that the proposed estimator cannot be improved upon other than by a logarithmic factor. Further, the analysis identifies how the accuracy depends on the topology of sampling via the spectrum of the sampling graph. This provides a guideline for designing surveys when one can choose which items are to be compared. This is accompanies by numerical simulations on synthetic and real datasets confirming our theoretical predictions.

* 64 pages, 4 figures. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1506.07947 

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Next Generation Robotics

Jun 29, 2016
Henrik I Christensen, Allison Okamura, Maja Mataric, Vijay Kumar, Greg Hager, Howie Choset

The National Robotics Initiative (NRI) was launched 2011 and is about to celebrate its 5 year anniversary. In parallel with the NRI, the robotics community, with support from the Computing Community Consortium, engaged in a series of road mapping exercises. The first version of the roadmap appeared in September 2009; a second updated version appeared in 2013. While not directly aligned with the NRI, these road-mapping documents have provided both a useful charting of the robotics research space, as well as a metric by which to measure progress. This report sets forth a perspective of progress in robotics over the past five years, and provides a set of recommendations for the future. The NRI has in its formulation a strong emphasis on co-robot, i.e., robots that work directly with people. An obvious question is if this should continue to be the focus going forward? To try to assess what are the main trends, what has happened the last 5 years and what may be promising directions for the future a small CCC sponsored study was launched to have two workshops, one in Washington DC (March 5th, 2016) and another in San Francisco, CA (March 11th, 2016). In this report we brief summarize some of the main discussions and observations from those workshops. We will present a variety of background information in Section 2, and outline various issues related to progress over the last 5 years in Section 3. In Section 4 we will outline a number of opportunities for moving forward. Finally, we will summarize the main points in Section 5.

* A Computing Community Consortium (CCC) white paper, 22 pages 

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Collaborative Filtering for Predicting User Preferences for Organizing Objects

Dec 20, 2015
Nichola Abdo, Cyrill Stachniss, Luciano Spinello, Wolfram Burgard

As service robots become more and more capable of performing useful tasks for us, there is a growing need to teach robots how we expect them to carry out these tasks. However, different users typically have their own preferences, for example with respect to arranging objects on different shelves. As many of these preferences depend on a variety of factors including personal taste, cultural background, or common sense, it is challenging for an expert to pre-program a robot in order to accommodate all potential users. At the same time, it is impractical for robots to constantly query users about how they should perform individual tasks. In this work, we present an approach to learn patterns in user preferences for the task of tidying up objects in containers, e.g., shelves or boxes. Our method builds upon the paradigm of collaborative filtering for making personalized recommendations and relies on data from different users that we gather using crowdsourcing. To deal with novel objects for which we have no data, we propose a method that compliments standard collaborative filtering by leveraging information mined from the Web. When solving a tidy-up task, we first predict pairwise object preferences of the user. Then, we subdivide the objects in containers by modeling a spectral clustering problem. Our solution is easy to update, does not require complex modeling, and improves with the amount of user data. We evaluate our approach using crowdsourcing data from over 1,200 users and demonstrate its effectiveness for two tidy-up scenarios. Additionally, we show that a real robot can reliably predict user preferences using our approach.

* Submission to The International Journal of Robotics Research. Relevant material can be found at 

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PG$^2$Net: Personalized and Group Preferences Guided Network for Next Place Prediction

Oct 15, 2021
Huifeng Li, Bin Wang, Fan Xia, Xi Zhai, Sulei Zhu, Yanyan Xu

Predicting the next place to visit is a key in human mobility behavior modeling, which plays a significant role in various fields, such as epidemic control, urban planning, traffic management, and travel recommendation. To achieve this, one typical solution is designing modules based on RNN to capture their preferences to various locations. Although these RNN-based methods can effectively learn individual's hidden personalized preferences to her visited places, the interactions among users can only be weakly learned through the representations of locations. Targeting this, we propose an end-to-end framework named personalized and group preference guided network (PG$^2$Net), considering the users' preferences to various places at both individual and collective levels. Specifically, PG$^2$Net concatenates Bi-LSTM and attention mechanism to capture each user's long-term mobility tendency. To learn population's group preferences, we utilize spatial and temporal information of the visitations to construct a spatio-temporal dependency module. We adopt a graph embedding method to map users' trajectory into a hidden space, capturing their sequential relation. In addition, we devise an auxiliary loss to learn the vectorial representation of her next location. Experiment results on two Foursquare check-in datasets and one mobile phone dataset indicate the advantages of our model compared to the state-of-the-art baselines. Source codes are available at

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An Exploration of Exploration: Measuring the ability of lexicase selection to find obscure pathways to optimality

Jul 26, 2021
Jose Guadalupe Hernandez, Alexander Lalejini, Charles Ofria

Parent selection algorithms (selection schemes) steer populations through a problem's search space, often trading off between exploitation and exploration. Understanding how selection schemes affect exploitation and exploration within a search space is crucial to tackling increasingly challenging problems. Here, we introduce an "exploration diagnostic" that diagnoses a selection scheme's capacity for search space exploration. We use our exploration diagnostic to investigate the exploratory capacity of lexicase selection and several of its variants: epsilon lexicase, down-sampled lexicase, cohort lexicase, and novelty-lexicase. We verify that lexicase selection out-explores tournament selection, and we show that lexicase selection's exploratory capacity can be sensitive to the ratio between population size and the number of test cases used for evaluating candidate solutions. Additionally, we find that relaxing lexicase's elitism with epsilon lexicase can further improve exploration. Both down-sampling and cohort lexicase -- two techniques for applying random subsampling to test cases -- degrade lexicase's exploratory capacity; however, we find that cohort partitioning better preserves lexicase's exploratory capacity than down-sampling. Finally, we find evidence that novelty-lexicase's addition of novelty test cases can degrade lexicase's capacity for exploration. Overall, our findings provide hypotheses for further exploration and actionable insights and recommendations for using lexicase selection. Additionally, this work demonstrates the value of selection scheme diagnostics as a complement to more conventional benchmarking approaches to selection scheme analysis.

* Changes to the axis labels and added funding sources to acknowledgments 

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AI Ethics Needs Good Data

Feb 15, 2021
Angela Daly, S Kate Devitt, Monique Mann

In this chapter we argue that discourses on AI must transcend the language of 'ethics' and engage with power and political economy in order to constitute 'Good Data'. In particular, we must move beyond the depoliticised language of 'ethics' currently deployed (Wagner 2018) in determining whether AI is 'good' given the limitations of ethics as a frame through which AI issues can be viewed. In order to circumvent these limits, we use instead the language and conceptualisation of 'Good Data', as a more expansive term to elucidate the values, rights and interests at stake when it comes to AI's development and deployment, as well as that of other digital technologies. Good Data considerations move beyond recurring themes of data protection/privacy and the FAT (fairness, transparency and accountability) movement to include explicit political economy critiques of power. Instead of yet more ethics principles (that tend to say the same or similar things anyway), we offer four 'pillars' on which Good Data AI can be built: community, rights, usability and politics. Overall we view AI's 'goodness' as an explicly political (economy) question of power and one which is always related to the degree which AI is created and used to increase the wellbeing of society and especially to increase the power of the most marginalized and disenfranchised. We offer recommendations and remedies towards implementing 'better' approaches towards AI. Our strategies enable a different (but complementary) kind of evaluation of AI as part of the broader socio-technical systems in which AI is built and deployed.

* 20 pages, under peer review in Pieter Verdegem (ed), AI for Everyone? Critical Perspectives. University of Westminster Press 

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A multiple testing framework for diagnostic accuracy studies with co-primary endpoints

Nov 08, 2019
Max Westphal, Antonia Zapf, Werner Brannath

Major advances have been made regarding the utilization of artificial intelligence in health care. In particular, deep learning approaches have been successfully applied for automated and assisted disease diagnosis and prognosis based on complex and high-dimensional data. However, despite all justified enthusiasm, overoptimistic assessments of predictive performance are still common. Automated medical testing devices based on machine-learned prediction models should thus undergo a throughout evaluation before being implemented into clinical practice. In this work, we propose a multiple testing framework for (comparative) phase III diagnostic accuracy studies with sensitivity and specificity as co-primary endpoints. Our approach challenges the frequent recommendation to strictly separate model selection and evaluation, i.e. to only assess a single diagnostic model in the evaluation study. We show that our parametric simultaneous test procedure asymptotically allows strong control of the family-wise error rate. Moreover, we demonstrate in extensive simulation studies that our multiple testing strategy on average leads to a better final diagnostic model and increased statistical power. To plan such studies, we propose a Bayesian approach to determine the optimal number of models to evaluate. For this purpose, our algorithm optimizes the expected final model performance given previous (hold-out) data from the model development phase. We conclude that an assessment of multiple promising diagnostic models in the same evaluation study has several advantages when suitable adjustments for multiple comparisons are conducted.

* 31 pages, 5 figures, preprint 

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