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Users often need to look through multiple search result pages or reformulate queries when they have complex information-seeking needs. Conversational search systems make it possible to improve user satisfaction by asking questions to clarify users’ search intents. This, however, can take significant effort to answer a series of questions starting with “what/why/how”. To quickly identify user intent and reduce effort during interactions, we propose an intent clarification task based on yes/no questions where the system needs to ask the correct question about intents within the fewest conversation turns. In this task, it is essential to use negative feedback about the previous questions in the conversation history. To this end, we propose a Maximum-Marginal-Relevance (MMR) based BERT model (MMR-BERT) to leverage negative feedback based on the MMR principle for the next clarifying question selection. Experiments on the Qulac dataset show that MMR-BERT outperforms state-of-the-art baselines significantly on the intent identification task and the selected questions also achieve significantly better performance in the associated document retrieval tasks.
Phylogenomics of peacock spiders and their kin (Salticidae: Maratus), with implications for the evolution of male courtship displays.Understanding diversity has been a pursuit in evolutionary biology since its inception. A challenge arises when sexual selection has played a role in diversification. Questions of what constitutes a ‘species’, homoplasy vs. synapomorphy, and whether sexually selected traits show phylogenetic signal have hampered work on many systems. Peacock spiders are famous for sexually selected male courtship dances and peacock-like abdominal ornamentation. This lineage of jumping spiders currently includes over 90 species classified into two genera, Maratus and Saratus. Most Maratus species have been placed into groups based on secondary sexual characters, but evolutionary relationships remain unresolved. Here we assess relationships in peacock spiders using phylogenomic data (ultraconserved elements and RAD-sequencing). Analyses reveal that Maratus and the related genus Saitis are paraphyletic. Many, but not all, morphological groups within a ‘core Maratus’ clade are recovered as genetic clades but we find evidence for undocumented speciation. Based on original observations of male courtship, our comparative analyses suggest that courtship behaviour and peacock-like abdominal ornamentation have evolved sequentially, with some traits inherited from ancestors and others evolving repeatedly and independently from ‘simple’ forms. Our results have important implications for the taxonomy of these spiders, and provide a much-needed evolutionary framework for comparative studiesmore »
Relevance feedback techniques assume that users provide relevance judgments for the top k (usually 10) documents and then re-rank using a new query model based on those judgments. Even though this is effective, there has been little research recently on this topic because requiring users to provide substantial feedback on a result list is impractical in a typical web search scenario. In new environments such as voice-based search with smart home devices, however, feedback about result quality can potentially be obtained during users' interactions with the system. Since there are severe limitations on the length and number of results that can be presented in a single interaction in this environment, the focus should move from browsing result lists to iterative retrieval and from retrieving documents to retrieving answers. In this paper, we study iterative relevance feedback techniques with a focus on retrieving answer passages. We first show that iterative feedback can be at least as effective as the top-k approach on standard TREC collections, and more effective on answer passage collections. We then propose an iterative feedback model for answer passages based on semantic similarity at passage level and show that it can produce significant improvements compared to both word-basedmore »
As more and more search traffic comes from mobile phones, intelligent assistants, and smart-home devices, new challenges (e.g., limited presentation space) and opportunities come up in information retrieval. Previously, an effective technique, relevance feedback (RF), has rarely been used in real search scenarios due to the overhead of collecting users’ relevance judgments. However, since users tend to interact more with the search results shown on the new interfaces, it becomes feasible to obtain users’ assessments on a few results during each interaction. This makes iterative relevance feedback (IRF) techniques look promising today. IRF can deal with a simplified scenario of conversational search, where the system asks users to provide relevance feedback on results shown in the current iteration and shows more relevant results in the next interaction. IRF has not been studied systematically in the new search scenarios and its effectiveness is mostly unknown. In this paper, we re-visit IRF and extend it with RF models proposed in recent years. We conduct extensive experiments to analyze and compare IRF with the standard top-k RF framework on document and passage retrieval. Experimental results show that IRF is at least as effective as the standard top-k RF framework for documents and muchmore »
Product search serves as an important entry point for online shopping. In contrast to web search, the retrieved results in product search not only need to be relevant but also should satisfy customers' preferences in order to elicit purchases. Starting from the same query, customers may purchase different products due to their personal taste or needs. Previous work has shown the efficacy of purchase history in personalized product search. However, customers with little or no purchase history do not benefit from personalized product search. Furthermore, preferences extracted from a customer's purchase history are usually long-term and may not always align with her short-term interests. Hence, in this paper, we leverage clicks within a query session, as implicit feedback, to represent users' hidden intents, which further act as the basis for re-ranking subsequent result pages for the query. To further solve the word mismatch problem between queries and items, we proposed an end-to-end context-aware embedding model which can capture long-term and short-term context dependencies. Our experimental results on the datasets collected from the search log of a commercial product search engine show that short-term context leads to much better performance compared with long-term and no context. Our results also show thatmore »