Collaborating Authors

CES for Marketers: Alexa Wows, Virtual Reality Underwhelms


Over the past few years the CES trade show has become a familiar post-holidays pilgrimage for many of the country's biggest marketers. They see the event as a way to get a sneak peek at the latest tech gadgets and technologies that can help them engage with their customers. This year marketing executives from companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Campbell Soup and PepsiCo Inc. made their way to Las Vegas for the gathering. The convention was jam-packed with everything from self-driving cars to robots that play chess to Procter & Gamble's air-freshener spray that can connect with Alphabet Inc.'s Nest home to automatically release pleasant scents in the home. But there was one category that seemed to especially win over marketers: virtual assistants.

Automatic Bayesian Density Analysis Machine Learning

Making sense of a dataset in an automatic and unsupervised fashion is a challenging problem in statistics and AI. Classical approaches for {exploratory data analysis} are usually not flexible enough to deal with the uncertainty inherent to real-world data: they are often restricted to fixed latent interaction models and homogeneous likelihoods; they are sensitive to missing, corrupt and anomalous data; moreover, their expressiveness generally comes at the price of intractable inference. As a result, supervision from statisticians is usually needed to find the right model for the data. However, since domain experts are not necessarily also experts in statistics, we propose Automatic Bayesian Density Analysis (ABDA) to make exploratory data analysis accessible at large. Specifically, ABDA allows for automatic and efficient missing value estimation, statistical data type and likelihood discovery, anomaly detection and dependency structure mining, on top of providing accurate density estimation. Extensive empirical evidence shows that ABDA is a suitable tool for automatic exploratory analysis of mixed continuous and discrete tabular data.

Distributed Constraint Optimization Problems and Applications: A Survey

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

The field of multi-agent system (MAS) is an active area of research within artificial intelligence, with an increasingly important impact in industrial and other real-world applications. In a MAS, autonomous agents interact to pursue personal interests and/or to achieve common objectives. Distributed Constraint Optimization Problems (DCOPs) have emerged as a prominent agent model to govern the agents' autonomous behavior, where both algorithms and communication models are driven by the structure of the specific problem. During the last decade, several extensions to the DCOP model have been proposed to enable support of MAS in complex, real-time, and uncertain environments. This survey provides an overview of the DCOP model, offering a classification of its multiple extensions and addressing both resolution methods and applications that find a natural mapping within each class of DCOPs. The proposed classification suggests several future perspectives for DCOP extensions and identifies challenges in the design of efficient resolution algorithms, possibly through the adaptation of strategies from different areas.

Knowledge Graphs Artificial Intelligence

In this paper we provide a comprehensive introduction to knowledge graphs, which have recently garnered significant attention from both industry and academia in scenarios that require exploiting diverse, dynamic, large-scale collections of data. After a general introduction, we motivate and contrast various graph-based data models and query languages that are used for knowledge graphs. We discuss the roles of schema, identity, and context in knowledge graphs. We explain how knowledge can be represented and extracted using a combination of deductive and inductive techniques. We summarise methods for the creation, enrichment, quality assessment, refinement, and publication of knowledge graphs. We provide an overview of prominent open knowledge graphs and enterprise knowledge graphs, their applications, and how they use the aforementioned techniques. We conclude with high-level future research directions for knowledge graphs.

Scalable bundling via dense product embeddings Machine Learning

Bundling, the practice of jointly selling two or more products at a discount, is a widely used strategy in industry and a well examined concept in academia. Historically, the focus has been on theoretical studies in the context of monopolistic firms and assumed product relationships, e.g., complementarity in usage. We develop a new machine-learning-driven methodology for designing bundles in a large-scale, cross-category retail setting. We leverage historical purchases and consideration sets created from clickstream data to generate dense continuous representations of products called embeddings. We then put minimal structure on these embeddings and develop heuristics for complementarity and substitutability among products. Subsequently, we use the heuristics to create multiple bundles for each product and test their performance using a field experiment with a large retailer. We combine the results from the experiment with product embeddings using a hierarchical model that maps bundle features to their purchase likelihood, as measured by the add-to-cart rate. We find that our embeddings-based heuristics are strong predictors of bundle success, robust across product categories, and generalize well to the retailer's entire assortment.