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Deep Sequence Models for Attribute Extraction from Product Titles


We are working on extracting attributes (brand, shape, color etc) from raw product descriptions. The text is short and noisy and highly contextual and the labeling of attributes for training ML models is costly. I discuss how we build a deep sequence CNN-BiLSTM-CRF model in Pytorch to extract attributes from noisy text with minimum labeling using an active learning approach.

At Clustr, I am working on converting raw product data available with SMEs to structured catalog. One of the key tasks of building catalogue is extracting attributes from raw product titles. Typical attributes include Brands, Color, Shape, measurement etc. Product titles are usually very short text describing the product without any significant grammar. The titles are very dependent on the user which generates very noisy text with abbreviations, spelling mistakes, omiitted text, improper spaces, transliteration etc. The additional challenge is availability of labeled data to train a machine learning model on this. The product data we receive is not labeled and labeling is a costly excercise. I show how we built a deep sequence model with CNN, BiLSTM and CRF architecture and tuned it using active learning methods for this task.

I will discuss various deep sequence models combined with conditional random fields to label attributes from such text and outline pros and cons of different architectures. The model uses pretrained word embeddings. I will outtine some of the challenges of sparse tokens and noise while building our domain specific word embeddings. A key aspect of the problem is the lack of labeled data and high cost of getting this data. To minimize the cost of labeling I trained our model using an active learning approach. The active labeling requires sampling strategies such that minimum labeling can have maximum improvement in model performance. I implemented both model confidence based sampling and data coverage based sampling such that we are able to label examples which the model is least confident about and which are very different from the existing training examples. The active learning examples in a single training iteration were only about 1000 examples. Training models with such few examples required us to be very careful about overfitting in training. I will also talk about how I regularized the model.

To rapidly iterate in experiments I created an experimental setup which allowed rapid changes and traceability. It was challenging to measure the performance of the model and understand the limitations of the model. To do this more effectively, I tracked various metrics to measure the performance of the model including various metrics relevant to the Named Entity Tasks. These metrics were very informative in identifying the gaps in the model. I will discuss these in detail.

Overall this talk will provide audience a good in depth understanding of how deep sequence models are built in Pytorch for challenging information extraction tasks. They will understand the pros and cons of different architectures, things to keep in mind while tuning such deep models and how active learning is performed in deep sequence models.


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