Query-Level Stability and Generalization in Learning to Rank

author: Tie-Yan Liu, Microsoft Research
published: Aug. 4, 2008,   recorded: July 2008,   views: 4217


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This paper is concerned with the generalization ability of learning to rank algorithms for information retrieval (IR). We point out that the key for addressing the learning problem is to look at it from the viewpoint of query, and we give a formulation of learning to rank for IR based on the consideration. We define a number of new concepts within the framework, including query-level loss, query-level risk, and query-level stability. We then analyze the generalization ability of learning to rank algorithms by giving query-level generalization bounds to them using query-level stability as a tool. Such an analysis is very helpful for us to derive more advanced algorithms for IR. We apply the proposed theory to the existing algorithms of Ranking SVM and IRSVM. Experimental results on the two algorithms verify the correctness of the theoretical analysis.

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