Semantic Models for the First-stage Retrieval: A Comprehensive Review

8 Mar 2021  ·  Jiafeng Guo, Yinqiong Cai, Yixing Fan, Fei Sun, Ruqing Zhang, Xueqi Cheng ·

Multi-stage ranking pipelines have been a practical solution in modern search systems, where the first-stage retrieval is to return a subset of candidate documents, and latter stages attempt to re-rank those candidates. Unlike re-ranking stages going through quick technique shifts during past decades, the first-stage retrieval has long been dominated by classical term-based models. Unfortunately, these models suffer from the vocabulary mismatch problem, which may block re-ranking stages from relevant documents at the very beginning. Therefore, it has been a long-term desire to build semantic models for the first-stage retrieval that can achieve high recall efficiently. Recently, we have witnessed an explosive growth of research interests on the first-stage semantic retrieval models. We believe it is the right time to survey current status, learn from existing methods, and gain some insights for future development. In this paper, we describe the current landscape of the first-stage retrieval models under a unified framework to clarify the connection between classical term-based retrieval methods, early semantic retrieval methods and neural semantic retrieval methods. Moreover, we identify some open challenges and envision some future directions, with the hope of inspiring more researches on these important yet less investigated topics.

PDF Abstract

Results from the Paper

  Submit results from this paper to get state-of-the-art GitHub badges and help the community compare results to other papers.


No methods listed for this paper. Add relevant methods here