Interactive Text Ranking with Bayesian Optimisation: A Case Study on Community QA and Summarisation

Edwin Simpson, Yang Gao, Iryna Gurevych

Abstract


For many NLP applications, such as question answering and summarisation, the goal is to select the best solution from a large space of candidates to meet a particular user’s needs. To address the lack of user or task-specific training data, we propose an interactive text ranking approach that actively selects pairs of candidates, from which the user selects the best. Unlike previous strategies, which attempt to learn a ranking across the whole candidate space, our method employs Bayesian optimisation to focus the user’s labelling effort on high quality candidates and integrate prior knowledge to cope better with small data scenarios. We apply our method to community question answering (cQA) and extractive multi-document summarisation, finding that it significantly outperforms existing interactive approaches. We also show that the ranking function learned by our method is an effective reward function for reinforcement learning, which improves the state of the art for interactive summarisation.

 


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