PT-Ranking: A Benchmarking Platform for Neural Learning-to-Rank

31 Aug 2020  ·  Hai-Tao Yu ·

Deep neural networks has become the first choice for researchers working on algorithmic aspects of learning-to-rank. Unfortunately, it is not trivial to find the optimal setting of hyper-parameters that achieves the best ranking performance. As a result, it becomes more and more difficult to develop a new model and conduct a fair comparison with prior methods, especially for newcomers. In this work, we propose PT-Ranking, an open-source project based on PyTorch for developing and evaluating learning-to-rank methods using deep neural networks as the basis to construct a scoring function. On one hand, PT-Ranking includes many representative learning-to-rank methods. Besides the traditional optimization framework via empirical risk minimization, adversarial optimization framework is also integrated. Furthermore, PT-Ranking's modular design provides a set of building blocks that users can leverage to develop new ranking models. On the other hand, PT-Ranking supports to compare different learning-to-rank methods based on the widely used datasets (e.g., MSLR-WEB30K, Yahoo!LETOR and Istella LETOR) in terms of different metrics, such as precision, MAP, nDCG, nERR. By randomly masking the ground-truth labels with a specified ratio, PT-Ranking allows to examine to what extent the ratio of unlabelled query-document pairs affects the performance of different learning-to-rank methods. We further conducted a series of demo experiments to clearly show the effect of different factors on neural learning-to-rank methods, such as the activation function, the number of layers and the optimization strategy.

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