Semi-Supervised Ensemble Ranking

Steven C. H. Hoi, Rong Jin

Ranking plays a central role in many Web search and information retrieval applications. Ensemble ranking, sometimes called meta-search, aims to improve the retrieval performance by combining the outputs from multiple ranking algorithms. Many ensemble ranking approaches employ supervised learning techniques to learn appropriate weights for combining multiple rankers. The main shortcoming with these approaches is that the learned weights for ranking algorithms are query independent. This is suboptimal since a ranking algorithm could perform well for certain queries but poorly for others. In this paper, we propose a novel semi-supervised ensemble ranking (SSER) algorithm that learns query-dependent weights when combining multiple rankers in document retrieval. The proposed SSER algorithm is formulated as an SVM-like quadratic program (QP), and therefore can be solved efficiently by taking advantage of optimization techniques that were widely used in existing SVM solvers. We evaluated the proposed technique on a standard document retrieval testbed and observed encouraging results by comparing to a number of state-of-the-art techniques.

Subjects: 1.10 Information Retrieval; 12. Machine Learning and Discovery

Submitted: Apr 14, 2008

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