Scalable and Efficient Comparison-based Search without Features

Jul 12, 2020

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We consider the problem of finding a target object t using pairwise comparisons, by asking an oracle questions of the form “Which object from the pair (i,j) is more similar to t?”. Objects live in a space of latent features, from which the oracle generates noisy answers. First, we consider the non-blind setting where these features are accessible. We propose a new Bayesian comparison-based search algorithm with noisy answers; it has low computational complexity yet is efficient in the number of queries. We provide theoretical guarantees, deriving the form of the optimal query and proving almost sure convergence to the target t. Second, we consider the blind setting, where the object features are hidden from the search algorithm. In this setting, we combine our search method and a new distributional triplet embedding algorithm into one scalable learning framework called Learn2Search. We show that the query complexity of our approach on two real-world datasets is on par with the non-blind setting, which is not achievable using any of the current state-of-the-art embedding methods. Finally, we demonstrate the efficacy of our framework by conducting a movie actors search experiment with real users.

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About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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