Joint Optimization of Cascade Ranking Models

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Authors Luke Gallagher, Ruey-Chen Chen, J. Shane Culpepper, Roi Blanco
Journal/Conference Name WSDM 2019 2
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Reducing excessive costs in feature acquisition and model evaluation has been a long-standing challenge in learning-to-rank systems. A cascaded ranking architecture turns ranking into a pipeline of multiple stages, and has been shown to be a powerful approach to balancing efficiency and effectiveness trade-offs in large-scale search systems. However, learning a cascade model is often complex, and usually performed stagewise independently across the entire ranking pipeline. In this work we show that learning a cascade ranking model in this manner is often suboptimal in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency. We present a new general framework for learning an end-to-end cascade of rankers using backpropagation. We show that stagewise objectives can be chained together and optimized jointly to achieve significantly better trade-offs globally. This novel approach is generalizable to not only differentiable models but also state-of-the-art tree-based algorithms such as LambdaMART and cost-efficient gradient boosted trees, and it opens up new opportunities for exploring additional efficiency-effectiveness trade-offs in large-scale search systems.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language Python
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