Harrie Oosterhuis has written an accessible summary of our recent work on pairwise differentiable gradient descent (PDGD), an online learning to rank method that he published at CIKM 2018, with a follow-up paper to come at ECIR 2019 in April. With the introduction of the PDGD algorithm, ranking systems can now be optimized from user interactions far more effectively than previously possible. Additionally, PDGD can also optimize neural models to a greater effect, something previous methods couldn’t do. We expect that the development of ranking systems will benefit from this contribution on the long term. Not only because of improved performance, but also because the possibility to optimize more complex models opens the door to many different possibilities.

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