What Do Users Want? Using Semantics to Predict User Intents at Scale

Over the years search paradigm has shifted from document retrieval to deeper user intent understanding. Today’s users are no longer satisfied with seeing a list of relevant documents, instead they want to complete tasks and take actions on them. The question I will address in this talk is how to build an automated user intent understanding system, where given a query like "Mia" the user sees relevant and personalized recommendations such as "buy latest album of the singer”, or "check-in flight to Miami". I will begin by introducing the task and the main challenges with semantic understanding. Then, I will describe categorization and structured prediction algorithms for entity detection and intent prediction. Finally, I will highlight results and findings for user intent prediction from shopping, movies, restaurant and sport domains.

Zornitsa Kozareva, Manager at Google

Dr. Zornitsa Kozareva is a Manager at Google, leading and managing the Natural Language Understanding group and efforts in Google Apps Intelligence. Prior to that, Dr. Kozareva was Manager of Amazon’s AWS Deep Learning group that built and launched the Natural Language Processing and Dialog services Amazon Comprehend and Amazon Lex. Dr. Kozareva was as Senior Manager at Yahoo! leading the Query Processing group that powered Mobile Search and Advertisement. From 2009 to 2014, Dr. Kozareva wore an academic hat as Research Professor at the University of Southern California CS Department with affiliation to Information Sciences Institute, where she spearheaded research funded by DARPA and IARPA on learning to read, interpreting metaphors and building knowledge bases from the Web. Dr. Kozareva regularly serves as Area Chair and PC of top tier NLP and ML conferences. Dr. Kozareva has organized four SemEval scientific challenges and has published over 80 research papers. Dr. Kozareva is a recipient of the John Atanasoff Award given by the President of Republic of Bulgaria in 2016 for her contributions and impact in science, education and industry; the Yahoo! Labs Excellence Award in 2014 and the RANLP Young Scientist Award in 2011.

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