An efficient method for learning nonlinear ranking SVM functions

Hwanjo Yu, Jinha Kim, Youngdae Kim, Seungwon Hwang, Young Ho Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The problem of learning ranking (or preference) functions has become important in recent years as various applications have been found in information retrieval. Among the rank learning methods, RankSVM has been favorably used in various applications, e.g., optimizing search engines and improving data retrieval quality. Fast learning methods for linear RankSVM (RankSVM with a linear kernel) have been extensively developed, whereas methods for nonlinear RankSVM (RankSVM with nonlinear kernels) are lacking. This paper proposes an efficient method for learning with nonlinear kernels, called Ranking Vector SVM (RV-SVM). RV-SVM utilizes training vectors rather than pairwise difference vectors to determine the support vectors, and is thus faster to train than conventional RankSVMs. Experimental comparisons with the state-of-the-art RankSVM implementation provided in SVM-light show that RV-SVM is substantially faster for nonlinear kernels, although our method is slower for linear kernels. RV-SVM also uses far fewer support vectors, and thus the trained models are much simpler than those built by RankSVMs while maintaining comparable accuracy. Our implementation of RV-SVM is accessible at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-48
Number of pages12
JournalInformation sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov 20

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Brain Korea 21 Project in 2010 and Mid-career Researcher Program through an NRF Grant funded by the MEST (No. KRF-2009-0080667).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Artificial Intelligence


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