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# Semantic Search Using Vectors/Embeddings For Noobs

If you are someone like me who is hearing about semantic search, vectors and embeddings after LLM(Large Language Model) was launched and finds these terms confusing then I hope this blog brings some clarity to you.

## What is Semantic Search

Semantic search in Natural Language Processing (NLP) refers to the process of understanding the meaning or intent behind a user's search query and retrieving relevant information based on that understanding. Unlike traditional keyword-based search, which matches queries to documents based on exact word matches, semantic search aims to comprehend the context and semantics of the query to generate more accurate and contextually relevant results.

The next question is how to make computers understand the semantic information... Humans have very high cognitive capabilities so they can easily understand semantics in multiple languages but to make a computer understand semantics is challenging.

In this blog, we are going to see how semantic information is understood using vectors/embeddings. In my previous blog, I have shown how CountVectorizer & TFIDF works now we are going to see an even more advanced yet simple and easy way to do semantic search

# What is a vector

Mathematically a vector is a value which has both magnitude and direction.

Here vectors A,B,C,D have magnitudes 4, 2 and A,B,D have same direction but C has a different direction. These are single dimensional vectors.

In mathematics unlike in physics, there could be n dimensions for a vector and these are called multi-dimensional vectors(each arrow in the above figure is a dimension). The all-MiniLM-L6-v2 model that we are going to use in this blog generates a vector with dimension 384. The information stored in these dimensions is used to find semantic similarity.

# Sentence Transformers

SentenceTransformers is a Python framework for state-of-the-art sentence, text and image embeddings. It provides easy methods to compute embeddings (dense vector representations) for sentences, paragraphs and images.

Now we are going to see how to generate embeddings and do a semantic search using a pre-trained model from sentence transformers.

## Pretrained Sentence Transformer Model - all-MiniLM-L6-v2

We have a Python library to access the model

pip install -U sentence-transformers

We are going to use the all-MiniLM-L6-v2 model which is a lightweight yet powerful model.

from sentence_transformers import SentenceTransformer
model = SentenceTransformer('all-MiniLM-L6-v2')

Now we can take a few question-answer sentences and generate embeddings from them and do a semantic search on them.

# Q&A sentences
"Q : What is this software used for? A : This software is used to handle you finances and provide useful suggestion",
"Q : How much does it cost per year? A : It costs 5000 rupees per year",
"Q : Is there a premium version available? A : Yes it is available for a cost of 7000 rupees per year",
"Q : Why should I choose this rather than product Y? A : Our product outperforms in W and Z"
]

#Sentences are encoded by calling model.encode()

The encode function will generate embeddings and further, we are converting the embeddings into a pytorch tensor.

That was easy !!!!

Now we will ask a question and find semantically relevant content from the embeddings generated.

question = ['Can you explain the use of this software']
question_embeddings = model.encode(question, convert_to_tensor=True)

We should also generate embedding for our question...

from sentence_transformers.util import semantic_search

We are using a utility function called semantic_search which internally uses cosine similarity by default to find the similarity between the two embeddings and returns a similarity score, you can also use any other metric for comparing the vectors like dot product.

question = ['How much do you charge?']
question_embeddings = model.encode(question, convert_to_tensor=True)

from sentence_transformers.util import semantic_search