David Goldberg

David Goldberg
Lead Research Scientist- Search Science

David has had a checkered carrer including math professor, software engineer at Sun Microsystems, researcher at Xerox PARC, adjunct professor at Scripps Research Institute (he is a co-author with the Acting President of Scripps) and now Techical Fellow at eBay.

HotCloud '15, 7th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing, Santa Clara July 2015

The Importance of Features for Statistical Anomaly Detection

David Goldberg, Yinan Shan

The theme of this paper is that anomaly detection splits into two parts: developing the right features, and then feeding these features into a statistical system that detects anomalies in the features. Most literature on anomaly detection focuses on the second part. Our goal is to illustrate the importance of the first part. We do this with two real-life examples of anomaly detectors in use at eBay.

WWW '17 Perth Australia April 2017

Drawing Sound Conclusions from Noisy Judgments

David Goldberg, Andrew Trotman, Xiao Wang, Wei Min, Zongru Wan

The quality of a search engine is typically evaluated using hand-labeled data sets, where the labels indicate the relevance of documents to queries. Often the number of labels needed is too large to be created by the best annotators, and so less accurate labels (e.g. from crowdsourcing) must be used. This introduces errors in the labels, and thus errors in standard precision metrics (such as P@k and DCG); the lower the quality of the judge, the more errorful the labels, consequently the more inaccurate the metric. We introduce equations and algorithms that can adjust the metrics to the values they would have had if there were no annotation errors.

This is especially important when two search engines are compared by comparing their metrics. We give examples where one engine appeared to be statistically significantly better than the other, but the effect disappeared after the metrics were corrected for annotation error. In other words the evidence supporting a statistical difference was illusory, and caused by a failure to account for annotation error.

IEEE Big Data, Boston MA, Dec 2017

What is Skipped: Finding Desirable Items in E-Commerce Search by Discovering the Worst Title Tokens

Ishita Khan, Prathyusha Senthil Kumar, Daniel Miranda, David Goldberg

Given an ecommerce query, how well the titles of items for sale match the user intent is an important signal for ranking the items. A well-known technique for computing this signal is to use a standard machine-learned model that uses words as features, targets user clicks and predicts a score to rank the titles. In this paper, we introduce an alternate modeling technique that applies to queries that are frequent enough to have historical click data. For each such query we build a parameterized model of user behavior that learns what makes users skip a title. The parameters are different for each query. Specifically, our model predicts how desirable an item’s title is to the user query by focusing on the worst tokens in the title. The model is learned offline using maximum likelihood based on user behavioral data, significantly improving query processing cost. The model’s output score is used as a feature in a machine learned ranker for e-commerce search at eBay. Besides titles, the model design can easily incorporate any attribute of an item including structured content. In this scope, we present our new title desirability model built for nearly 8M queries recently deployed into the eBay search ecosystem and demonstrate its significant performance improvement over a baseline click-based Na¨ıve Bayes model through different evaluation approaches including A/B testing and human judgment. The reported performance is based on eBay's commercial search engine serving millions of queries each day.