Not All Relevance Scores are Equal: Efficient Uncertainty and Calibration Modeling for Deep Retrieval Models

05/10/2021 ∙ by Daniel Cohen, et al. ∙ 0

In any ranking system, the retrieval model outputs a single score for a document based on its belief on how relevant it is to a given search query. While retrieval models have continued to improve with the introduction of increasingly complex architectures, few works have investigated a retrieval model's belief in the score beyond the scope of a single value. We argue that capturing the model's uncertainty with respect to its own scoring of a document is a critical aspect of retrieval that allows for greater use of current models across new document distributions, collections, or even improving effectiveness for down-stream tasks. In this paper, we address this problem via an efficient Bayesian framework for retrieval models which captures the model's belief in the relevance score through a stochastic process while adding only negligible computational overhead. We evaluate this belief via a ranking based calibration metric showing that our approximate Bayesian framework significantly improves a retrieval model's ranking effectiveness through a risk aware reranking as well as its confidence calibration. Lastly, we demonstrate that this additional uncertainty information is actionable and reliable on down-stream tasks represented via cutoff prediction.

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