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Context Selection for Embedding Models
Liping Liu · Francisco Ruiz · Susan Athey · David Blei

Mon Dec 04 06:30 PM -- 10:30 PM (PST) @ Pacific Ballroom #20 #None

Word embeddings are an effective tool to analyze language. They have been recently extended to model other types of data beyond text, such as items in recommendation systems. Embedding models consider the probability of a target observation (a word or an item) conditioned on the elements in the context (other words or items). In this paper, we show that conditioning on all the elements in the context is not optimal. Instead, we model the probability of the target conditioned on a learned subset of the elements in the context. We use amortized variational inference to automatically choose this subset. Compared to standard embedding models, this method improves predictions and the quality of the embeddings.

Author Information

Liping Liu (Tufts University)
Francisco Ruiz
Susan Athey (Stanford University)

Susan Athey is The Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received her bachelor's degree from Duke University and her Ph.D. from Stanford, and she holds an honorary doctorate from Duke University. She previously taught at the economics departments at MIT, Stanford and Harvard. In 2007, Professor Athey received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded by the American Economic Association to “that American economist under the age of forty who is adjudged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.” She was elected to the National Academy of Science in 2012 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008. Professor Athey’s research focuses on the economics of the internet, online advertising, the news media, marketplace design, and the intersection of machine learning and econometrics. She advises governments and businesses on marketplace design and platform economics.

David Blei (Columbia University)

David Blei is a Professor of Statistics and Computer Science at Columbia University, and a member of the Columbia Data Science Institute. His research is in statistical machine learning, involving probabilistic topic models, Bayesian nonparametric methods, and approximate posterior inference algorithms for massive data. He works on a variety of applications, including text, images, music, social networks, user behavior, and scientific data. David has received several awards for his research, including a Sloan Fellowship (2010), Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2011), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2011), Blavatnik Faculty Award (2013), and ACM-Infosys Foundation Award (2013). He is a fellow of the ACM.

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