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HodgeRank With Information Maximization for Crowdsourced Pairwise Ranking Aggregation

AAAI Conferences

Recently, crowdsourcing has emerged as an effective paradigm for human-powered large scale problem solving in various domains. However, task requester usually has a limited amount of budget, thus it is desirable to have a policy to wisely allocate the budget to achieve better quality. In this paper, we study the principle of information maximization for active sampling strategies in the framework of HodgeRank, an approach based on Hodge Decomposition of pairwise ranking data with multiple workers. The principle exhibits two scenarios of active sampling: Fisher information maximization that leads to unsupervised sampling based on a sequential maximization of graph algebraic connectivity without considering labels; and Bayesian information maximization that selects samples with the largest information gain from prior to posterior, which gives a supervised sampling involving the labels collected. Experiments show that the proposed methods boost the sampling efficiency as compared to traditional sampling schemes and are thus valuable to practical crowdsourcing experiments.



Active Ranking using Pairwise Comparisons

Neural Information Processing Systems

This paper examines the problem of ranking a collection of objects using pairwise comparisons (rankings of two objects). We are interested in natural situations in which relationships among the objects may allow for ranking using far fewer pairwise comparisons. We show that under this assumption the number of possible rankings grows like $n {2d}$ and demonstrate an algorithm that can identify a randomly selected ranking using just slightly more than $d\log n$ adaptively selected pairwise comparisons, on average.} If instead the comparisons are chosen at random, then almost all pairwise comparisons must be made in order to identify any ranking. In addition, we propose a robust, error-tolerant algorithm that only requires that the pairwise comparisons are probably correct.


Stochastic Submodular Maximization: The Case of Coverage Functions

Neural Information Processing Systems

Stochastic optimization of continuous objectives is at the heart of modern machine learning. However, many important problems are of discrete nature and often involve submodular objectives. We seek to unleash the power of stochastic continuous optimization, namely stochastic gradient descent and its variants, to such discrete problems. We first introduce the problem of stochastic submodular optimization, where one needs to optimize a submodular objective which is given as an expectation. Our model captures situations where the discrete objective arises as an empirical risk (e.g., in the case of exemplar-based clustering), or is given as an explicit stochastic model (e.g., in the case of influence maximization in social networks). By exploiting that common extensions act linearly on the class of submodular functions, we employ projected stochastic gradient ascent and its variants in the continuous domain, and perform rounding to obtain discrete solutions. We focus on the rich and widely used family of weighted coverage functions. We show that our approach yields solutions that are guaranteed to match the optimal approximation guarantees, while reducing the computational cost by several orders of magnitude, as we demonstrate empirically.


Variational Information Maximization for Feature Selection

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Feature selection is one of the most fundamental problems in machine learning. An extensive body of work on information-theoretic feature selection exists which is based on maximizing mutual information between subsets of features and class labels. Practical methods are forced to rely on approximations due to the difficulty of estimating mutual information. We demonstrate that approximations made by existing methods are based on unrealistic assumptions. We formulate a more flexible and general class of assumptions based on variational distributions and use them to tractably generate lower bounds for mutual information. These bounds define a novel information-theoretic framework for feature selection, which we prove to be optimal under tree graphical models with proper choice of variational distributions. Our experiments demonstrate that the proposed method strongly outperforms existing information-theoretic feature selection approaches.