Shengyao Zhuang


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Open-source Large Language Models are Strong Zero-shot Query Likelihood Models for Document Ranking
Shengyao Zhuang | Bing Liu | Bevan Koopman | Guido Zuccon
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

In the field of information retrieval, Query Likelihood Models (QLMs) rank documents based on the probability of generating the query given the content of a document. Recently, advanced large language models (LLMs) have emerged as effective QLMs, showcasing promising ranking capabilities. This paper focuses on investigating the genuine zero-shot ranking effectiveness of recent LLMs, which are solely pre-trained on unstructured text data without supervised instruction fine-tuning. Our findings reveal the robust zero-shot ranking ability of such LLMs, highlighting that additional instruction fine-tuning may hinder effectiveness unless a question generation task is present in the fine-tuning dataset. Furthermore, we introduce a novel state-of-the-art ranking system that integrates LLM-based QLMs with a hybrid zero-shot retriever, demonstrating exceptional effectiveness in both zero-shot and few-shot scenarios. We make our codebase publicly available at


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Dealing with Typos for BERT-based Passage Retrieval and Ranking
Shengyao Zhuang | Guido Zuccon
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Passage retrieval and ranking is a key task in open-domain question answering and information retrieval. Current effective approaches mostly rely on pre-trained deep language model-based retrievers and rankers. These methods have been shown to effectively model the semantic matching between queries and passages, also in presence of keyword mismatch, i.e. passages that are relevant to a query but do not contain important query keywords. In this paper we consider the Dense Retriever (DR), a passage retrieval method, and the BERT re-ranker, a popular passage re-ranking method. In this context, we formally investigate how these models respond and adapt to a specific type of keyword mismatch – that caused by keyword typos occurring in queries. Through empirical investigation, we find that typos can lead to a significant drop in retrieval and ranking effectiveness. We then propose a simple typos-aware training framework for DR and BERT re-ranker to address this issue. Our experimental results on the MS MARCO passage ranking dataset show that, with our proposed typos-aware training, DR and BERT re-ranker can become robust to typos in queries, resulting in significantly improved effectiveness compared to models trained without appropriately accounting for typos.