A Few Brief Notes on DeepImpact, COIL, and a Conceptual Framework for Information Retrieval Techniques

06/28/2021
by   Jimmy Lin, et al.
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Recent developments in representational learning for information retrieval can be organized in a conceptual framework that establishes two pairs of contrasts: sparse vs. dense representations and unsupervised vs. learned representations. Sparse learned representations can further be decomposed into expansion and term weighting components. This framework allows us to understand the relationship between recently proposed techniques such as DPR, ANCE, DeepCT, DeepImpact, and COIL, and furthermore, gaps revealed by our analysis point to "low hanging fruit" in terms of techniques that have yet to be explored. We present a novel technique dubbed "uniCOIL", a simple extension of COIL that achieves to our knowledge the current state-of-the-art in sparse retrieval on the popular MS MARCO passage ranking dataset. Our implementation using the Anserini IR toolkit is built on the Lucene search library and thus fully compatible with standard inverted indexes.

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