Counterfactual evaluation can estimate Click-Through-Rate (CTR) differences between ranking systems based on historical interaction data, while mitigating the effect of position bias and item-selection bias. We introduce the novel Logging-Policy Optimization Algorithm (LogOpt), which optimizes the policy for logging data so that the counterfactual estimate has minimal variance. As minimizing variance leads to faster convergence, LogOpt increases the data-efficiency of counterfactual estimation. LogOpt turns the counterfactual approach - which is indifferent to the logging policy - into an online approach, where the algorithm decides what rankings to display. We prove that, as an online evaluation method, LogOpt is unbiased w.r.t. position and item-selection bias, unlike existing interleaving methods. Furthermore, we perform large-scale experiments by simulating comparisons between thousands of rankers. Our results show that while interleaving methods make systematic errors, LogOpt is as efficient as interleaving without being biased.
H. Oosterhuis, and M. de Rijke. "Taking the Counterfactual Online: Efficient and Unbiased Online Evaluation for Ranking." In Proceedings of the 2020 ACM SIGIR on International Conference on Theory of Information Retrieval. ACM, 2020.