On the usefulness of query features for learning to rank

Macdonald, C., Santos, R.L.T. and Ounis, I. (2012) On the usefulness of query features for learning to rank. In: CIKM 2012: 21st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Maui HI, USA, 29 Oct - 2 Nov 2012, pp. 2559-2562. (doi:10.1145/2396761.2398691)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2396761.2398691

Abstract

Learning to rank studies have mostly focused on query-dependent and query-independent document features, which enable the learning of ranking models of increased effectiveness. Modern learning to rank techniques based on regression trees can support query features, which are document-independent, and hence have the same values for all documents being ranked for a query. In doing so, such techniques are able to learn sub-trees that are specific to certain types of query. However, it is unclear which classes of features are useful for learning to rank, as previous studies leveraged anonymised features. In this work, we examine the usefulness of four classes of query features, based on topic classification, the history of the query in a query log, the predicted performance of the query, and the presence of concepts such as persons and organisations in the query. Through experiments on the ClueWeb09 collection, our results using a state-of-the-art learning to rank technique based on regression trees show that all four classes of query features can significantly improve upon an effective learned model that does not use any query feature.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Additional Information:ISBN: 9781450311564
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macdonald, Dr Craig and Ounis, Professor Iadh
Authors: Macdonald, C., Santos, R.L.T., and Ounis, I.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science

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