Interactive Text Ranking with Bayesian Optimization: A Case Study on Community QA and Summarization

Edwin D. Simpson, Iryna Gurevych, Yang Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


For many NLP applications, such as question answering and summarization, 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 uses Bayesian optimization to focus the user’s labeling 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 multidocument summarization, 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 summarization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-775
Number of pages17
JournalTransactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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