On the Reliability of Test Collections for Evaluating Systems of Different Types

Emine Yilmaz, Nick Craswell, Bhaskar Mitra, Daniel Campos

As deep learning based models are increasingly being used for information retrieval (IR), a major challenge is to ensure the availability of test collections for measuring their quality. Test collections are generated based on pooling results of various retrieval systems, but until recently this did not include deep learning systems. This raises a major challenge for reusable evaluation: Since deep learning based models use external resources (e.g. word embeddings) and advanced representations as opposed to traditional methods that are mainly based on lexical similarity, they may return different types of relevant document that were not identified in the original pooling. If so, test collections constructed using traditional methods are likely to lead to biased and unfair evaluation results for deep learning (neural) systems. This paper uses simulated pooling to test the fairness and reusability of test collections, showing that pooling based on traditional systems only can lead to biased evaluation of deep learning systems.

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