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Global Ranking Using Continuous Conditional Random Fields
Tao Qin · Tie-Yan Liu · Xu-Dong Zhang · De-Sheng Wang · Hang Li

Wed Dec 10 04:40 PM -- 05:00 PM (PST) @

This paper studies global ranking problem by learning to rank methods. Conventional learning to rank methods are usually designed for `local ranking', in the sense that the ranking model is defined on a single object, for example, a document in information retrieval. For many applications, this is a very loose approximation. Relations always exist between objects and it is better to define the ranking model as a function on all the objects to be ranked (i.e., the relations are also included). This paper refers to the problem as global ranking and proposes employing a Continuous Conditional Random Fields (CRF) for conducting the learning task. The Continuous CRF model is defined as a conditional probability distribution over ranking scores of objects conditioned on the objects. It can naturally represent the content information of objects as well as the relation information between objects, necessary for global ranking. Taking two specific information retrieval tasks as examples, the paper shows how the Continuous CRF method can perform global ranking better than baselines.

Author Information

Tao Qin (Microsoft Research)
Tie-Yan Liu (Microsoft Research)

Tie-Yan Liu is an assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, leading the machine learning research area. He is very well known for his pioneer work on learning to rank and computational advertising, and his recent research interests include deep learning, reinforcement learning, and distributed machine learning. Many of his technologies have been transferred to Microsoft’s products and online services (such as Bing, Microsoft Advertising, Windows, Xbox, and Azure), and open-sourced through Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), Microsoft Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit (DMTK), and Microsoft Graph Engine. He has also been actively contributing to academic communities. He is an adjunct/honorary professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), University of Nottingham, and several other universities in China. He has published 200+ papers in refereed conferences and journals, with over 17000 citations. He has won quite a few awards, including the best student paper award at SIGIR (2008), the most cited paper award at Journal of Visual Communications and Image Representation (2004-2006), the research break-through award (2012) and research-team-of-the-year award (2017) at Microsoft Research, and Top-10 Springer Computer Science books by Chinese authors (2015), and the most cited Chinese researcher by Elsevier (2017). He has been invited to serve as general chair, program committee chair, local chair, or area chair for a dozen of top conferences including SIGIR, WWW, KDD, ICML, NIPS, IJCAI, AAAI, ACL, ICTIR, as well as associate editor of ACM Transactions on Information Systems, ACM Transactions on the Web, and Neurocomputing. Tie-Yan Liu is a fellow of the IEEE, and a distinguished member of the ACM.

Xu-Dong Zhang (Tsinghua University)
De-Sheng Wang
Hang Li (Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.)

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