Classification tasks are usually analysed and improved through new model architectures or hyperparameter optimisation but the underlying properties of datasets are discovered on an ad-hoc basis as errors occur. However, understanding the properties of the data is crucial in perfecting models. In this paper we analyse exactly which characteristics of a dataset best determine how difficult that dataset is for the task of text classification. We then propose an intuitive measure of difficulty for text classification datasets which is simple and fast to calculate. We show that this measure generalises to unseen data by comparing it to state-of-the-art datasets and results. This measure can be used to analyse the precise source of errors in a dataset and allows fast estimation of how difficult a dataset is to learn. We searched for this measure by training 12 classical and neural network based models on 78 real-world datasets, then use a genetic algorithm to discover the best measure of difficulty. Our difficulty-calculating code ( ) and datasets ( ) are publicly available.

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Many recommender systems suffer from the popularity bias problem: popular items are being recommended frequently while less popular, niche products, are recommended rarely if not at all. However, those ignored products are exactly the products that businesses need to find customers for and their recommendations would be more beneficial. In this paper, we examine an item weighting approach to improve long-tail recommendation. Our approach works as a simple yet powerful add-on to existing recommendation algorithms for making a tunable trade-off between accuracy and long-tail coverage.

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Recurrent neural network (RNN) models are widely used for processing sequential data governed by a latent tree structure. Previous work shows that RNN models (especially Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) based models) could learn to exploit the underlying tree structure. However, its performance consistently lags behind that of tree-based models. This work proposes a new inductive bias Ordered Neurons, which enforces an order of updating frequencies between hidden state neurons. We show that the ordered neurons could explicitly integrate the latent tree structure into recurrent models. To this end, we propose a new RNN unit: ON-LSTM, which achieve good performances on four different tasks: language modeling, unsupervised parsing, targeted syntactic evaluation, and logical inference.

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