Neural Computing and Applications

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 701–710 | Cite as

When sparse coding meets ranking: a joint framework for learning sparse codes and ranking scores

  • Jim Jing-Yan Wang
  • Xuefeng Cui
  • Ge Yu
  • Lili Guo
  • Xin GaoEmail author
Original Article


Sparse coding, which represents a data point as a sparse reconstruction code with regard to a dictionary, has been a popular data representation method. Meanwhile, in database retrieval problems, learning the ranking scores from data points plays an important role. Up to now, these two problems have always been considered separately, assuming that data coding and ranking are two independent and irrelevant problems. However, is there any internal relationship between sparse coding and ranking score learning? If yes, how to explore and make use of this internal relationship? In this paper, we try to answer these questions by developing the first joint sparse coding and ranking score learning algorithm. To explore the local distribution in the sparse code space, and also to bridge coding and ranking problems, we assume that in the neighborhood of each data point, the ranking scores can be approximated from the corresponding sparse codes by a local linear function. By considering the local approximation error of ranking scores, the reconstruction error and sparsity of sparse coding, and the query information provided by the user, we construct a unified objective function for learning of sparse codes, the dictionary and ranking scores. We further develop an iterative algorithm to solve this optimization problem.


Database retrieval Data representation Sparse coding Learning to rank Nearest neighbors 



The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China under the Grant No. 61502463.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© The Natural Computing Applications Forum 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Jing-Yan Wang
    • 1
  • Xuefeng Cui
    • 1
  • Ge Yu
    • 2
  • Lili Guo
    • 2
  • Xin Gao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division, Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC)King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)ThuwalSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Space Utilization, Technology and Engineering Center for Space UtilizationChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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