Autonomy and Reliability of Continuous Active Learning for Technology-Assisted Review

Gordon V. Cormack & Maura R. Grossman



We enhance the autonomy of the continuous active learning method shown by Cormack and Grossman (SIGIR 2014) to be effective for technology-assisted review, in which documents from a collection are retrieved and reviewed, using relevance feedback, until substantially all of the relevant documents have been reviewed. Autonomy is enhanced through the elimination of topic-specific and dataset-specific tuning parameters, so that the sole input required by the user is, at the outset, a short query, topic description, or single relevant document; and, throughout the review, ongoing relevance assessments of the retrieved documents. We show that our enhancements consistently yield superior results to Cormack and Grossman's version of continuous active learning, and other methods, not only on average, but on the vast majority of topics from four separate sets of tasks: the legal datasets examined by Cormack and Grossman, the Reuters RCV1-v2 subject categories, the TREC 6 AdHoc task, and the construction of the TREC 2002 filtering test collection.