Contextualized Generative Retrieval


The text retrieval task is mainly performed in two ways: the bi-encoder approach and the generative approach. The bi-encoder approach maps the document and query embeddings to common vector space and performs a nearest neighbor search. It stably shows high performance and efficiency across different domains but has an embedding space bottleneck as it interacts in L2 or inner product space. The generative retrieval model retrieves by generating a target sequence and overcomes the embedding space bottleneck by interacting in the parametric space. However, it fails to retrieve the information it has not seen during the training process as it depends solely on the information encoded in its own model parameters. To leverage the advantages of both approaches, we propose Contextualized Generative Retrieval model, which uses contextualized embeddings (output embeddings of a language model encoder) as vocab embeddings at the decoding step of generative retrieval. The model uses information encoded in both the non-parametric space of contextualized token embeddings and the parametric space of the generative retrieval model. Our approach of generative retrieval with contextualized vocab embeddings shows higher performance than generative retrieval with only vanilla vocab embeddings in the document retrieval task, an average of 6% higher performance in KILT (NQ, TQA) and 2X higher in NQ-320k, suggesting the benefits of using contextualized embedding in generative retrieval models.

The 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics