A Large Scale Search Dataset for Unbiased Learning to Rank

7 Jul 2022  ·  Lixin Zou, Haitao Mao, Xiaokai Chu, Jiliang Tang, Wenwen Ye, Shuaiqiang Wang, Dawei Yin ·

The unbiased learning to rank (ULTR) problem has been greatly advanced by recent deep learning techniques and well-designed debias algorithms. However, promising results on the existing benchmark datasets may not be extended to the practical scenario due to the following disadvantages observed from those popular benchmark datasets: (1) outdated semantic feature extraction where state-of-the-art large scale pre-trained language models like BERT cannot be exploited due to the missing of the original text;(2) incomplete display features for in-depth study of ULTR, e.g., missing the displayed abstract of documents for analyzing the click necessary bias; (3) lacking real-world user feedback, leading to the prevalence of synthetic datasets in the empirical study. To overcome the above disadvantages, we introduce the Baidu-ULTR dataset. It involves randomly sampled 1.2 billion searching sessions and 7,008 expert annotated queries, which is orders of magnitude larger than the existing ones. Baidu-ULTR provides:(1) the original semantic feature and a pre-trained language model for easy usage; (2) sufficient display information such as position, displayed height, and displayed abstract, enabling the comprehensive study of different biases with advanced techniques such as causal discovery and meta-learning; and (3) rich user feedback on search result pages (SERPs) like dwelling time, allowing for user engagement optimization and promoting the exploration of multi-task learning in ULTR. In this paper, we present the design principle of Baidu-ULTR and the performance of benchmark ULTR algorithms on this new data resource, favoring the exploration of ranking for long-tail queries and pre-training tasks for ranking. The Baidu-ULTR dataset and corresponding baseline implementation are available at https://github.com/ChuXiaokai/baidu_ultr_dataset.

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