Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu

Eleven Point Precision-Recall Curve

  • Ethan ZhangEmail author
  • Yi Zhang
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_481


The 11-point precision-recall curve is a graph plotting the interpolated precision of an information retrieval (IR) system at 11 standard recall levels, that is, {0.0, 0.1, 0.2, …, 1.0}. The method for interpolation is detailed below. The graph is widely used to evaluate IR systems that return ranked documents, which are common in modern search systems.

Key Points

In a precision-recall graph, precision is plotted as a function of recall. Assume a search system has retrieved n documents. Then for each kϵ [0, n], examine the set of top k retrieved documents and calculate the precision and recall for the set. These values are then plotted on a graph of precision versus recall. Figure  1 shows a typical precision-recall curve. It has a saw-toothed shape because the recall remains the same as k while the precision drops when the ( k+1)th retrieved document is not relevant.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Yahoo! Inc.Santa ClaraUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Weiyi Meng
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Computer ScienceState University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA