Analysis of Regression Tree Fitting Algorithms in Learning to Rank

In learning to rank area, industry-level applications have been dominated by gradient boosting framework, which fits a tree using least square error principle. While in classification area, another tree fitting principle, weighted least square error, has been widely used, such as LogitBoost and its variants. However, there is a lack of analysis on the relationship between the two principles in the scenario of learning to rank. We propose a new principle named least objective loss based error that enables us to analyze the issue above as well as several important learning to rank models. We also implement two typical and strong systems and conduct our experiments in two real-world datasets. Experimental results show that our proposed method brings moderate improvements over least square error principle.

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