Document Ranking with a Pretrained Sequence-to-Sequence Model [article]

Rodrigo Nogueira, Zhiying Jiang, Jimmy Lin
2020 arXiv   pre-print
This work proposes a novel adaptation of a pretrained sequence-to-sequence model to the task of document ranking. Our approach is fundamentally different from a commonly-adopted classification-based formulation of ranking, based on encoder-only pretrained transformer architectures such as BERT. We show how a sequence-to-sequence model can be trained to generate relevance labels as "target words", and how the underlying logits of these target words can be interpreted as relevance probabilities
more » ... r ranking. On the popular MS MARCO passage ranking task, experimental results show that our approach is at least on par with previous classification-based models and can surpass them with larger, more-recent models. On the test collection from the TREC 2004 Robust Track, we demonstrate a zero-shot transfer-based approach that outperforms previous state-of-the-art models requiring in-dataset cross-validation. Furthermore, we find that our approach significantly outperforms an encoder-only model in a data-poor regime (i.e., with few training examples). We investigate this observation further by varying target words to probe the model's use of latent knowledge.
arXiv:2003.06713v1 fatcat:kabe4q7ff5hbzkyns3i3py3nem