Generalization error bounds for learning to rank: Does the length of document lists matter?


Ambuj Tewari, Sougata Chaudhuri ;
Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 37:315-323, 2015.


We consider the generalization ability of algorithms for learning to rank at a query level, a problem also called subset ranking. Existing generalization error bounds necessarily degrade as the size of the document list associated with a query increases. We show that such a degradation is not intrinsic to the problem. For several loss functions, including the cross-entropy loss used in the well known ListNet method, there is no degradation in generalization ability as document lists become longer. We also provide novel generalization error bounds under \ell_1 regularization and faster convergence rates if the loss function is smooth.

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