Query Driven Algorithm Selection in Early Stage Retrieval


Large scale retrieval systems often employ cascaded ranking architectures, in which an initial set of candidate documents are iteratively refined and re-ranked by increasingly sophisticated and expensive ranking models. In this paper, we propose a unified framework for predicting a range of performance-sensitive parameters based on minimizing end-to-end effectiveness loss. The framework does not require relevance judgments for training, is amenable to predicting a wide range of parameters, allows for fine tuned efficiency-effectiveness trade-offs, and can be easily deployed in large scale search systems with minimal overhead. As a proof of concept, we show that the framework can accurately predict a number of performance parameters on a query-by-query basis, allowing efficient and effective retrieval, while simultaneously minimizing the tail latency of an early-stage candidate generation system. On the $50$ million document ClueWeb09B collection, and across $25{,}000$ queries, our hybrid system can achieve superior early-stage efficiency to fixed parameter systems without loss of effectiveness, and allows more finely-grained efficiency-effectiveness trade-offs across the multiple stages of the retrieval system.

Proceedings of the 11th ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM 2018)