Abstract: Learning to rank arises in many data mining applications, ranging from web search engine, online advertising to recommendation system. In learning to rank, the performance of a ranking model is strongly affected by the number of labelled examples in the training set; on the other hand, obtaining labelled examples for training data is very expensive and time consuming. This presents a great need for the active learning approaches to select most informative examples for ranking learning; however, in the literature there is still very limited work to address active learning for ranking. In this paper, we propose a general active learning framework, expected loss optimization (ELO), for ranking. The ELO framework is applicable to a wide range of ranking functions. Under this framework, we derive a novel algorithm, expected discounted cumulative gain (DCG) loss optimization (ELO-DCG), to select most informative examples. Then, we investigate both query and document level active learning for raking and propose a twostage ELO-DCG algorithm which incorporate both query and document selection into active learning. Furthermore, we show that it is flexible for the algorithm to deal with the skewed grade distribution problem with the modification of the loss function. Extensive experiments o realworld web search data sets have demonstrated great potential and effectiveness of the proposed framework and algorithms.

Keywords: Active Learning, Data Mining.