Unsupervised System Combination for Set-based Retrieval with Expectation Maximization

Published in International Conference of the Cross-Language Evaluation Forum for European Languages (CLEF), 2019


System combination has been shown to improve overall performance on many rank-based retrieval tasks, often by combining results from multiple systems into a single ranked list. In contrast, set-based retrieval tasks call for a technique to combine results in ways that require decisions on whether each document is in or out of the result set. This paper presents a set-generating unsupervised system combination framework that draws inspiration from evaluation techniques in sparse data settings. It argues for the existence of a duality between evaluation and system combination, and then capitalizes on this duality to perform unsupervised system combination. To do this, the framework relies on the consensus of the systems to estimate latent “goodness” for each system. An implementation of this framework using data programming is compared to other unsupervised system combination approaches to demonstrate its effectiveness on CLEF and MATERIAL collections.

Download paper here

Recommended citation:

  title={Unsupervised system combination for set-based retrieval with expectation maximization},
  author={Shing, Han-Chin and Barrow, Joe and Galu{\v{s}}{\v{c}}{\'a}kov{\'a}, Petra and Oard, Douglas W and Resnik, Philip},
  booktitle={International Conference of the Cross-Language Evaluation Forum for European Languages},