Sequential Bayesian Search


Zheng Wen, Branislav Kveton, Brian Eriksson, Sandilya Bhamidipati ;
Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 28(2):226-234, 2013.


Millions of people search daily for movies, music, and books on the Internet. Unfortunately, non-personalized exploration of items can result in an infeasible number of costly interaction steps. We study the problem of efficient, repeated interactive search. In this problem, the user is navigated to the items of interest through a series of options and our objective is to learn a better search policy from past interactions with the user. We propose an efficient learning algorithm for solving the problem, sequential Bayesian search (SBS), and prove that it is Bayesian optimal. We also analyze the algorithm from the frequentist point of view and show that its regret is sublinear in the number of searches. Finally, we evaluate our method on a real-world movie discovery problem and show that it performs nearly optimally as the number of searches increases.

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