Using historical click data to increase interleaving sensitivity

Kharitonov, E., Macdonald, C. , Serdyukov, P. and Ounis, I. (2013) Using historical click data to increase interleaving sensitivity. In: CIKM 2013: 22nd ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, San Francisco CA, USA, 27 Oct - 1 Nov 2013, pp. 679-688. (doi: 10.1145/2505515.2505687)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


Interleaving is an online evaluation method to compare two alternative ranking functions based on the users' implicit feedback. In an interleaving experiment, the results from two ranking functions are merged in a single result list and presented to the users. The users' click feedback on the merged result list is analysed to derive preferences over the ranking functions. An important property of interleaving methods is their sensitivity, i.e. their ability to reliably derive the comparison outcome with a relatively small amount of user behaviour data. This allows testing of changes in the search engine ranking functions frequently and, as a result, rapid iterations in developing search quality improvements can be achieved. In this paper we propose a novel approach to further improve interleaving sensitivity by using pre-experimental user behaviour data. In particular, the click history is used to train a click model, which is then used to predict which interleaved result pages are likely to contribute to the experiment outcome. The probabilities of presenting these interleaved result pages to the users are then optimised, such that the sensitivity of interleaving is maximised. In order to evaluate the proposed approach, we re-use data from six actual interleaving experiments, previously performed by a commercial search engine. Our results demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms a state-of-the-art baseline, achieving up to a median of 48% reduction in the number of impressions for the same level of confidence.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macdonald, Professor Craig and Ounis, Professor Iadh
Authors: Kharitonov, E., Macdonald, C., Serdyukov, P., and Ounis, I.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record