Tree-based models have proven to be an effective solution for web ranking as well as other machine learning problems in diverse domains. This paper focuses on optimizing the runtime performance of applying such models to make predictions, specifically using gradient-boosted regression trees for learning to rank. Although exceedingly simple conceptually, most implementations of tree-based models do not efficiently utilize modern superscalar processors. By laying out data structures in memory in a more cache-conscious fashion, removing branches from the execution flow using a technique called predication, and micro-batching predictions using a technique called vectorization, we are able to better exploit modern processor architectures. Experiments on synthetic data and on three standard learning-to-rank datasets show that our approach is significantly faster than standard implementations.
I.E.E.E. Computer Society Press
IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Human-Centered Data Analytics

Asadi, N., Lin, J., & de Vries, A. (2014). Runtime Optimizations for Tree-Based Machine Learning Models. IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, 26(9), 2281–2292. doi:10.1109/TKDE.2013.73