Learning to select for a predefined ranking

In this paper, we formulate a novel problem of learning to select a set of items maximizing the quality of their ordered list, where the order is predefined by some explicit rule. Unlike the classic information retrieval problem, in our setting, the predefined order of items in the list may not correspond to their quality in general. For example, this is a dominant scenario in personalized news and social media feeds, where items are ordered by publication time in a user interface. We propose new theoretically grounded algorithms based on direct optimization of the resulting list quality. Our offline and online experiments with a large-scale product search engine demonstrate the overwhelming advantage of our methods over the baselines in terms of all key quality metrics.