Learning to rank using multiple loss functions

Abstract

Learning to rank has attracted much attention in the domain of information retrieval and machine learning. Prior studies on learning to rank mainly focused on three types of methods, namely, pointwise, pairwise and listwise. Each of these paradigms focuses on a different aspect of input instances sampled from the training dataset. This paper explores how to combine them to improve ranking performance. The basic idea is to incorporate the different loss functions and enrich the objective loss function. We present a flexible framework for multiple loss function incorporation and based on which three loss-weighting schemes are given. Moreover, in order to get good performance, we define several candidate loss functions and select them experimentally. The performance of the three types of weighting schemes is compared on LETOR3.0 dataset, which demonstrates that with a good weighting scheme, our method significantly outperforms the baselines which use single loss function, and it is at least comparable to the state-of-the-art algorithms in most cases.

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Acknowledgements

This work is partially supported by grant from the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61402075, 61602078, 61572102, 61572098), Natural Science Foundation of Liaoning Province, China (No.201202031, 2014020003), the Ministry of Education Humanities and Social Science Project (No. 16YJCZH12), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

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Correspondence to Hongfei Lin.

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Lin, Y., Wu, J., Xu, B. et al. Learning to rank using multiple loss functions. Int. J. Mach. Learn. & Cyber. 10, 485–494 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13042-017-0730-4

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Keywords

  • Learning to rank
  • Loss function
  • Gradient descent
  • Incorporation
  • Weighting scheme