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  1. Deep neural networks (DNNs) demonstrates significant advantages in improving ranking performance in retrieval tasks. Driven by the recent developments in optimization and generalization of DNNs, learning a neural ranking model online from its interactions with users becomes possible. However, the required exploration for model learning has to be performed in the entire neural network parameter space, which is prohibitively expensive and limits the application of such online solutions in practice. In this work, we propose an efficient exploration strategy for online interactive neural ranker learning based on bootstrapping. Our solution is based on an ensemble of ranking models trained with perturbed user click feedback. The proposed method eliminates explicit confidence set construction and the associated computational overhead, which enables the online neural rankers training to be efficiently executed in practice with theoretical guarantees. Extensive comparisons with an array of state-of-the-art OL2R algorithms on two public learning to rank benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and computational efficiency of our proposed neural OL2R solution. 
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  2. Existing online learning to rank (OL2R) solutions are limited to linear models, which are incompetent to capture possible non-linear relations between queries and documents. In this work, to unleash the power of representation learning in OL2R, we propose to directly learn a neural ranking model from users’ implicit feedback (e.g., clicks) collected on the fly. We focus on RankNet and LambdaRank, due to their great empirical success and wide adoption in offline settings, and control the notorious explore-exploit trade-off based on the convergence analysis of neural networks using neural tangent kernel. Specifically, in each round of result serving, exploration is only performed on document pairs where the predicted rank order between the two documents is uncertain; otherwise, the ranker’s predicted order will be followed in result ranking. We prove that under standard assumptions our OL2R solution achieves a gap-dependent upper regret bound of O(log 2(T)), in which the regret is defined on the total number of mis-ordered pairs over T rounds. Comparisons against an extensive set of state-of-the-art OL2R baselines on two public learning to rank benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed solution. 
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  3. Thanks to the power of representation learning, neural contextual bandit algorithms demonstrate remarkable performance improvement against their classical counterparts. But because their exploration has to be performed in the entire neural network parameter space to obtain nearly optimal regret, the resulting computational cost is prohibitively high. We perturb the rewards when updating the neural network to eliminate the need of explicit exploration and the corresponding computational overhead. We prove that a O(d\sqrt{T}) regret upper bound is still achievable under standard regularity conditions, where $T$ is the number of rounds of interactions and $\tilde{d}$ is the effective dimension of a neural tangent kernel matrix. Extensive comparisons with several benchmark contextual bandit algorithms, including two recent neural contextual bandit models, demonstrate the effectiveness and computational efficiency of our proposed neural bandit algorithm. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Residential homes constitute roughly one-fourth of the total energy usage worldwide. Providing appliance-level energy breakdown has been shown to induce positive behavioral changes that can reduce energy consumption by 15%. Existing approaches for energy breakdown either require hardware installation in every target home or demand a large set of energy sensor data available for model training. However, very few homes in the world have installed sub-meters (sensors measuring individual appliance energy); and the cost of retrofitting a home with extensive sub-metering eats into the funds available for energy saving retrofits. As a result, strategically deploying sensing hardware to maximize the reconstruction accuracy of sub-metered readings in non-instrumented homes while minimizing deployment costs becomes necessary and promising. In this work, we develop an active learning solution based on low-rank tensor completion for energy breakdown. We propose to actively deploy energy sensors to appliances from selected homes, with a goal to improve the prediction accuracy of the completed tensor with minimum sensor deployment cost. We empirically evaluate our approach on the largest public energy dataset collected in Austin, Texas, USA, from 2013 to 2017. The results show that our approach gives better performance with fixed number of sensors installed, when compared to the state-of-the-art, which is also proven by our theoretical analysis. 
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  5. Latent factor models have achieved great success in personalized recommendations, but they are also notoriously difficult to explain. In this work, we integrate regression trees to guide the learning of latent factor models for recommendation, and use the learnt tree structure to explain the resulting latent factors. Specifically, we build regression trees on users and items respectively with user-generated reviews, and associate a latent profile to each node on the trees to represent users and items. With the growth of regression tree, the latent factors are gradually refined under the regularization imposed by the tree structure. As a result, we are able to track the creation of latent profiles by looking into the path of each factor on regression trees, which thus serves as an explanation for the resulting recommendations. Extensive experiments on two large collections of Amazon and Yelp reviews demonstrate the advantage of our model over several competitive baseline algorithms. Besides, our extensive user study also confirms the practical value of explainable recommendations generated by our model. 
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  6. Residential buildings constitute roughly one-fourth of the total energy use across the globe. Numerous studies have shown that providing an energy breakdown increases residents' awareness of energy use and can help save up to 15% energy. A significant amount of prior work has looked into source-separation techniques collectively called non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM), and most prior NILM research has leveraged high-frequency household aggregate data for energy breakdown. However, in practice most smart meters only sample hourly or once every 15 minutes, and existing NILM techniques show poor performance at such a low sampling rate. In this paper, we propose a TreeCNN model for energy breakdown on low frequency data. There are three key insights behind the design of our model: i) households consume energy with regular temporal patterns, which can be well captured by filters learned in CNNs; ii) tree structure isolates the pattern learning of each appliance that helps avoid magnitude variance problem, while preserves relationship among appliances; iii) tree structure enables the separation of known appliance from unknown ones, which de-noises the input time series for better appliance-level reconstruction. Our TreeCNN model outperformed seven existing baselines on a public benchmark dataset with lower estimation error and higher accuracy on detecting the active states of appliances. 
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  7. Explaining automatically generated recommendations allows users to make more informed and accurate decisions about which results to utilize, and therefore improves their satisfaction. In this work, we develop a multi-task learning solution for explainable recommendation. Two companion learning tasks of user preference modeling for recommendation and opinionated content modeling for explanation are integrated via a joint tensor factorization. As a result, the algorithm predicts not only a user's preference over a list of items, i.e., recommendation, but also how the user would appreciate a particular item at the feature level, i.e., opinionated textual explanation. Extensive experiments on two large collections of Amazon and Yelp reviews confirmed the effectiveness of our solution in both recommendation and explanation tasks, compared with several existing recommendation algorithms. And our extensive user study clearly demonstrates the practical value of the explainable recommendations generated by our algorithm. 
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