Malay Haldar

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Applying Deep Learning To Airbnb Search

Searching for homes is the primary mechanism guests use to find the place they want to book at Airbnb. The goal of search ranking is to find guests the best possible options while rewarding the most deserving hosts. Ranking at Airbnb is a quest to understand the needs of the guests and the quality of the hosts to strike the best match possible. Applying machine learning to this challenge is one of the biggest success stories at Airbnb. Much of the initial gains were driven by a gradient boosted decision tree model. The gains, however, plateaued over time. This talk discusses the work done in applying neural networks in an attempt to break out of that plateau. The talk focuses on the elements we found useful in applying neural networks to a real life product. To other teams embarking on similar journeys, we hope this account of our struggles and triumphs will provide some useful pointers. Bon voyage!

Malay is a machine learning engineer working on search ranking at Airbnb. Prior to Airbnb, Malay worked on applying machine learning to Google Play search with the goal of understanding the functionality of each app. Before machine learning, Malay worked on web-scale infrastructure at Google and Amazon S3.

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