Yanan Zhang


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Event-enhanced Retrieval in Real-time Search
Yanan Zhang | Xiaoling Bai | Tianhua Zhou
Proceedings of the 2024 Joint International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-COLING 2024)

The embedding-based retrieval (EBR) approach is widely used in mainstream search engine retrieval systems and is crucial in recent retrieval-augmented methods for eliminating LLM illusions. However, existing EBR models often face the “semantic drift” problem and insufficient focus on key information, leading to a low adoption rate of retrieval results in subsequent steps. This issue is especially noticeable in real-time search scenarios, where the various expressions of popular events on the Internet make real-time retrieval heavily reliant on crucial event information. To tackle this problem, this paper proposes a novel approach called EER, which enhances real-time retrieval performance by improving the dual-encoder model of traditional EBR. We incorporate contrastive learning to accompany pairwise learning for encoder optimization. Furthermore, to strengthen the focus on critical event information in events, we include a decoder module after the document encoder, introduce a generative event triplet extraction scheme based on prompt-tuning, and correlate the events with query encoder optimization through comparative learning. This decoder module can be removed during inference. Extensive experiments demonstrate that EER can significantly improve the real-time search retrieval performance. We believe that this approach will provide new perspectives in the field of information retrieval. The codes and dataset are available at https://github.com/open-event-hub/Event-enhanced_Retrieval.


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Event-Centric Query Expansion in Web Search
Yanan Zhang | Weijie Cui | Yangfan Zhang | Xiaoling Bai | Zhe Zhang | Jin Ma | Xiang Chen | Tianhua Zhou
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 5: Industry Track)

In search engines, query expansion (QE) is a crucial technique to improve search experience. Previous studies often rely on long-term search log mining, which leads to slow updates and is sub-optimal for time-sensitive news searches. In this work, we present Event-Centric Query Expansion (EQE), the QE system used in a famous Chinese search engine. EQE utilizes a novel event retrieval framework that consists of four stages, i.e., event collection, event reformulation, semantic retrieval and online ranking, which can select the best expansion from a significant amount of potential events rapidly and accurately. Specifically, we first collect and filter news headlines from websites. Then we propose a generation model that incorporates contrastive learning and prompt-tuning techniques to reformulate these headlines to concise candidates. Additionally, we fine-tune a dual-tower semantic model to serve as an encoder for event retrieval and explore a two-stage contrastive training approach to enhance the accuracy of event retrieval. Finally, we rank the retrieved events and select the optimal one as QE, which is then used to improve the retrieval of event-related documents. Through offline analysis and online A/B testing, we observed that the EQE system has significantly improved many indicators compared to the baseline. The system has been deployed in a real production environment and serves hundreds of millions of users.


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Title2Event: Benchmarking Open Event Extraction with a Large-scale Chinese Title Dataset
Haolin Deng | Yanan Zhang | Yangfan Zhang | Wangyang Ying | Changlong Yu | Jun Gao | Wei Wang | Xiaoling Bai | Nan Yang | Jin Ma | Xiang Chen | Tianhua Zhou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Event extraction (EE) is crucial to downstream tasks such as new aggregation and event knowledge graph construction. Most existing EE datasets manually define fixed event types and design specific schema for each of them, failing to cover diverse events emerging from the online text. Moreover, news titles, an important source of event mentions, have not gained enough attention in current EE research. In this paper, we present Title2Event, a large-scale sentence-level dataset benchmarking Open Event Extraction without restricting event types. Title2Event contains more than 42,000 news titles in 34 topics collected from Chinese web pages. To the best of our knowledge, it is currently the largest manually annotated Chinese dataset for open event extraction. We further conduct experiments on Title2Event with different models and show that the characteristics of titles make it challenging for event extraction, addressing the significance of advanced study on this problem. The dataset and baseline codes are available at https://open-event-hub.github.io/title2event.